Five thoughts on an easy Raptors victory:
- Kyle and DeMar looked kinda like… playoff Kyle and DeMar. Shots were off, they were hesitant at times, and tried to force things other times. Ibaka was also kinda invisible. Norm and Jonas looked good though! Jonas missed a few chippies (and bricked a triple) but had a pretty complete game, Norm was aggressive and on point from deep.
- The bench was sensational. The full platoon change in the final minutes of Q1 was an oddity, but it worked! The amazing thing is, all five subs played well. Sure, Anonuby had his rookie moments (a weak drive), Poetl continues to pick up cheap fouls (two moving screens) and VanVleet’s shot looked off, but as a unit they blew the Bulls off the floor. And CJ and Delon were the best players in the game, along with Jonas.
- The Bulls are… wow, they are bad. I know they were missing two potential starters (because they got in a fistfight in practice, come on now) but still… that’s a really terrible NBA team.
- I definitely have issue with Casey leaving Kyle and DeMar in as long as he did in the fourth (especially bringing them back with two minutes left). He said he wanted to give them extra minutes to shake off the rust, and I guess I get it, but man… the injury risk is so high. Much greater that the reward of a couple extra minutes of burn, in my mind.
- CJ Miles is a pure gunner, and while he’s definitely not going 6-9 every night from downtown I love that the Raps have someone like that on the team. A deep threat like that opens up the floor for others—witness the drives that Anonuby and Wright had—and keeps the defense moving.
It’s tough to judge too much on one game against a weak opponent, but every win counts! Nice to see the Raps open the season this way.