Toronto Raptors Week One Recap: Emergence of the Young Bench

Kyle Lowry
CHICAGO, USA - OCTOBER 13: Kyle Lowry (7) of Toronto Raptors in action during a preseason NBA game between Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors at the United Center on October 13, 2017 in Chicago, United States. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Toronto Raptors Week One Recap

The Toronto Raptors open up the season going 2-2 over their first week. They won the games that they were supposed to and lost the two where they were the underdogs. Kyle Lowry struggled through the first week and will need to get back to his All-Star self.

However, the emergence of the young bench has been a genuine surprise for Toronto. They have been dominant in every game they have played so far. Despite being the biggest question mark going into the season, the Raptors young players have been nothing short of spectacular. Here is the Toronto Raptors week one recap.

Game 1 vs. Chicago Bulls

Opening night last Thursday against Detroit may not have been the perfect start, but it was still a decisive victory for Toronto 117-100. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Serge Ibaka did not exactly hit it out of the park as the three only combined for 31 points. It was actually their bench that won them the game, the very same bench that was the major question mark for this team heading into the season.

Led by newly acquired C.J. Miles who lit it up from downtown, scoring 22 points on 6/9 from three, and third-year point guard Delon Wright who constantly broke down the Chicago defense to set up easy baskets for his team. The other stand-out was Jonas Valanciunas, who put on a show scoring 23 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. We also got treated to this awesome first professional basket by rookie OG Anunoby.

Game 2 vs. Philadelphia 76ers

This game was quite simply a route for the Raptors; who won easily 128-94 against the Joel Embiid-less 76ers. DeMar DeRozan had a bounce-back game scoring 30 points on 8/12 shooting and did not play for the majority of the second half. Ibaka was lights out from deep shooting 5/9 and scoring 21 points while Jakob Poeltl scored 14 and grabbed 5 rebounds while also playing exceptional pick and roll defense.

However, the big story of the game was when Valanciunas had to leave the game after injuring his ankle. After the game, it was made known that he will miss at least the next three games with a sprained ankle.

Game 3 at San Antonio Spurs

This game was the first of a six-game road trip for Toronto as they head out west where they will face some of the top teams including the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors. While the game was close for about 45 minutes, San Antonio ran away with it in the last few minutes of the game. Toronto ended up losing 101-97. Kyle Lowry once again struggled heavily in this game, scoring only 8 points on 3/11 field goal attempts.

Toronto really missed Jonas Valanciunas in this contest as San Antonio out-rebounded the Raptors 55 to 34. A significant plus was yet again the play of Jakob Poeltl who scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while using his excellent mobility to cause havoc on defense. On the bright side, Toronto did get a couple of highlight dunks from DeRozan and Poeltl.

Game 4 at Golden State Warriors

The second game of their western road trip came up against the defending NBA Champions Golden State Warriors. Quite frankly, this was a game that the Raptors threw away. Up five with 90 seconds left, Toronto would fail to score again in the game. Eventually losing 112-117. Up to that point, you could not have asked for a better performance from Toronto.

Once again, it was that youthful bench that dominated Golden State. Pascal Siakam had a career-high 20 points, including his own personal 12-2 run to get Toronto back in the game in the third quarter. While Jakob Poeltl was probably the star of the game for Toronto, constantly making plays on defense and finished the game with his second straight double-double.

Game 5 at Los Angeles Lakers

On Friday night the Toronto Raptors took on the young Los Angeles Lakers. With all the hype of Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, Toronto had to overcome an energized crowd at Staples Center, especially when the Lakers jumped out to an early lead. But for the second game in a row, it was Pascal Siakam who took over the show. Scoring an impressive 18 points and grabbing five rebounds.

While Kyle Lowry may not have put up gaudy scoring numbers, he did manage his first triple-double of the season with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. They had the weekend off and will take on the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night.

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