Toronto seeks its first win when they take to the hardwood floor Thursday to play the Brooklyn Nets in Summer League action from the Thomas & Mack Centre in Vegas.
Unfortunately for the Toronto Raptors, Wednesday was another rough outing as they fell to the Detroit Pistons 94-90. The Dinos dropped to 0-3, leaving them with precious little time to make something of their stay in Nevada. For their part, the Brooklyn Nets were flying high against the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, crushing them 92-71.
Our NBA Summer League odds no longer give Toronto the benefit of the doubt. It’s the Nets who sit as -5.0 favourites, with the total established at 178.5.
Raptors vs Nets NBA Summer League Odds
Toronto wasn’t a favourite on Wednesday against the Pistons, who themselves were blasted by the Rockets the game before. That alone says enough about how the summer campaign is going for these young Dinos. They still covered the +4.5 spread, improving their record to 1-2 so far.
The Nets have won two of their three games so far, with the only defeat a close 101-97 contest versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’ve also blown out their last two opponents, New York and Milwaukee.
The NBA Summer League is about development. Winning is nice, but so long as the young studs show that they have what it takes to compete in the professional league, then positives can be taken from the matches. Knowing that, fans can be forgiven for considering this summer a disappointment.
It isn’t just that the team hasn’t won. It’s the manner in which they’ve fallen in contests. Sunday was a risible performance against the Cavaliers. On Wednesday, facing a Pistons team that itself was navigating some rocky waters, Toronto stormed out of the gate thanks to fine play by Moses Brown (13 points) and Markquis Nowell (six assists). The Raptors led by as many as 17 points over four minutes into the third quarter. It’s tempting to say this was Gradey Dick’s best outing. In some respects, it was. He had 50 per cent shooting efficiency and tallied 22 points. But he was also a victim of sloppiness with his passes and when ball handling, resulting in turnovers. One wonders if he’s telling himself that, as a first round selection, he needs to do everything.
The Raptors need to do some growing and learning before summer school is out.
On the opposite end of the spectrum and despite losing their initial tilt, the Brooklyn Nets look as though they have a very nice batch of futures professionals.
Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks was the second game in a row that they overpowered and overwhelmed their opposite number. The most mind-blowing part of the 92-71 demolishing of the Bucks is that it was a 40-40 game at the break. Brooklyn destroyed Milwaukee 35-9 in the third period! Guard David Duke Jr. led the way with 24 points and is brimming with confidence right now. He was a fantastic +35 on the floor. He and Kennedy Chandler (17 points) had a terrific game. Brooklyn’s passing was smooth, they looked confidence, and they played fast. It’s only summer basketball, but Nets brass must like what it sees.