The Raps are back baby

Harley Kock
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Friday, July 24, 2020

Toronto Raptors 94 - 83 Houston Rockets

138 days in the making...


With so much change in the world...


The Raptors finally touched a court in a competitive environment. It was the Houston Rockets, but it didn't really matter who they played in the first of three "scrimmage" games before the real thing begins August first.


It was just good to have the boys in red, back on the big screen. The hardwood looked different, with a generic NBA logo at the centre.


The words "Black Lives Matter" displayed on the edge of the sideline was a constant reminder of the much-needed changes trying to take place in the world.


Names on jersey's like, "Education Reform" "Equality" "Say Their Names" and much more well hard to read from a broadcast view, showed the NBA's commitment to the cause.


But when the ball went up, it was time to play. A special sight to see the first Raptors bucket in months be scored by Pascal Siakam.


It was the other end of the ball where Toronto struggled. Houston's small ball line-up spaced them out and cut them to pieces in the 29-22 starting quarter, which was only 10 minutes long.


In the second though; the bench made their presence felt, Kyle Lowry of course took a charge on James Harden, we saw some iso Siakam and Lowry finished it off with a three-point buzzer beater that sent them tied at 49 into halftime.


Sloppy was an understatement with both squads combining for just 21 assists to 17 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.


The third started clean, but an issue that plagued the Raptors all season came back again.


A three minute offensive drought.


It was quickly forgotten. Harden showed Terence Davis why he's the best iso scorer in the league with a late drive to give his Rockets a 73-72 lead going to the fourth.


The fourth returned to sloppy play and the Raps bench took full advantage going on a 9-0 run early on.


A 94-83 win saw Toronto's bench be all smiles. Head Coach Nick Nurse on his birthday shared the love with a deep rotation. All 17 players were dressed but we didn't get to see "skinny" Marc Gasol or the always polarizing, Patrick McCaw. Both are expected to debut on Sunday.


Next Up, The Portland TrailBlazers on Sunday, July 26th, at 6pm eastern.