Real Madrid played their starters last night and lost to a Canadian team, except they weren’t playing soccer but instead basketball.
Toronto Raptors beat the visiting Spanish club 102-95 in the opening action of the NBA team’s exhibition season.
For fans and analysts alike it was the first opportunity to see some of Toronto’s core for the upcoming season, and the results were mixed.
Ross was taken with the eighth overall pick and despite some initial disappointment from fans that wanted the Raps to draft freshman Austin Rivers, Ross has slowly been winning fans over.
The 6-foot-6 swingman had his sweet stroke on display going 2 for 3 from behind the arc in 22 minutes and finished with 10 points.
Ross added three rebounds and a steal on the defensive side, so it appears early on that he should fit into Dwayne Casey’s defensively responsible system.
Toronto’s best slasher this season will be third year player DeRozan and on Tuesday he reminded fans that he can certainly handle that role. The key to DeRozan’s progression will be to improve his shooting and his decision-making.
DeRozan led the Raptors with 18 points on 6 for 13 shooting and had his jump-shot working but still forced some shots too. He was minus-9 while on the floor showing that there is still room for defensive growth but he was working hard as evidenced by his three steals.
The Raptors franchise player led the team in playing time with 30 minutes, an obvious positive sign considering his injury woes last season.
His shooting was off, going just 5 of 16 from the floor and 1 of 5 from the arc but his presence on the floor is a good sign for Toronto. He added four rebounds but wasn’t the presence down low that the Raptors hope he’ll be during the season.
If he is healthy than the Raps have their most important single player and their playoff chances will be significantly better.
A former 13th overall pick of the Raptors, Davis seemed to reinforce what we already knew about him. He can be force on the defensive boards but his offensive contributions are fairly few and far between.
Davis snatched 10 rebounds, nine of them were defensive but only added three points, all from the free throw line, in his 18 minutes of play.
Surprisingly, the Raptors second round pick saw the floor for only 19 seconds in last night’s game, despite being healthy. This is a confusing move by Casey, as preseason time is usually important for coaches to assess young players’ role in the team for the start of the season.
Toronto’s offseason coup was the trade for Kyle Lowry and fans have been waiting with baited breath to see their newest acquisition. Unfortunately, Lowry has an injured groin and wasn’t able to play against Madrid.