Raptors' training camp concluded in Halifax today with a spirited intrasquad game at the Halifax Metro Centre. The team has been in Halifax all week, with their training camp taking place at the Canada Games Centre. Ed Davis' play stood out in the scrimmage, putting up a double double (14 pts, 12 rebs). This included the highlight play of the afternoon, a fast break alley-oop slam by Davis from John Lucas III.
Kyle Lowry, who the Raptors acquired in a trade from Houston this off-season, was a late scratch, as he sat out with a sore left leg. As did Jonas Valanciunas, the Raptors 2011 draft pick, who was sidelined due to a calf strain. Despite this, the Halifax fans in attendance were still enthusiastic, with DeMar DeRozan, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon getting the loudest cheers. The crowd was also treated to a solid battle between wings DeRozan and rookie Terrence Ross. The two should bring out the best in each other, as they compete with one another all season in practice.
During the scrimmage, the Raptors' worked on some of their key strategies coming into this season. In addition to coach Dwane Casey's defensive philosophy, the team plans to play an uptempo style and make use of its many 3-point shooting threats. The Raptors ball movement today was good and turnovers were kept relatively low. However, three-point shooting on the day looked to be off with both Black and White squads shooting a combine 4-28 from behind the arc. This should improve as the roster begins to gel and find each other for open shots in rhythm.
The Raptors' veterans also got to work on some rookie hazing, with Ross, Valanciunas and Quincy Acy being told to come to center court and dance to country music during a break in the action. The 'E' for effort goes to Acy, who also got a "Happy Birthday" cheer from the fans. The rookie from Baylor turned 22 today.
The Raptors will start preseason play on Monday vs. Real Madrid at the Air Canada Centre. Hopefully, with the large turnout of excited fans, the Raptors will be back in the near future for a preseason game.
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