It took a while, further time in reality, and it most likely ought to have given what went on earlier than, however the Raptors discovered their sport in loads of time to make the opener a profitable one on all fronts.
The season opener goes within the books as a 130-122 OT win.
The banner unveiling and the ring handouts went off and not using a hitch. The identical couldn’t be stated for the early on-court efficiency by the reigning NBA champs which suffered because the feelings of the championship ceremony carried over into the primary quarter and a number of the second, messing with the Raptors’ efficiency.
Pascal Siakam, sizzling off a four-year extension that can kick in a 12 months from now that can pay him $130-million, seemed to be price each future cent as he pounced in a game-high 34 factors and pulled down 18 rebounds. He additionally had 5 assists within the sport.
Siakam was at his most dominant within the fourth when the Raptors wanted him most as his 14 factors helped the Raptors keep away from the loss on championship celebration evening.
With that stat line, Siakam turned the primary participant in Raptors historical past to attain a minimum of 20 factors, pull down at 10 rebounds and dish out 5 assists in a season opener.
His 34 factors have been greater than another Raptors opener with two exceptions — Vince Carter and DeMar DeRozan.
Siakam fouled out with 50 seconds remaining on a questionable offensive foul name the Raptors down two or he may need even topped these two.
The visiting Pelicans needed to wait out the championship ceremony however there was no emotion apart from maybe the sensation of annoyance at having to look at another person rejoice.
It translated right into a pumped up Pelicans staff and an over-pumped Raptors staff because the Pelicans jumped on the defending champs within the early going.
Toronto was down as many as 11 within the early going.
Nationwide media sorts should not giving the Raptors a lot of any probability in any respect of repeating not to mention contending, however Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry isn’t amongst that group. Clearly a baseball fan in addition to an completed basketball coach, Gentry dropped some MLB data on the assembled media pre-game to make his level.
“Bryce Harper is gone, too, however the place are the Nationals?” Gentry requested of the previous Nationals go-to man who left by way of free company for the Phillies. “I’m not able to quick promote these guys.”
Gentry had his Pelicans, even with out No. 1 decide Zion Williamson within the fold for a minimum of the subsequent month, primed and prepared for this one.
However the Raptors simply had an excessive amount of of an edge within the uncooked expertise division for the Pelicans to maintain their early benefit.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse caught to an eight-man rotation presumably out of an absence of consolation with any of the opposite 4 choices with which he may have prolonged his rotation.
“I’m most likely taking part in Terence (Davis II) because the eighth man tonight,” Nurse stated previous to the sport. “After which once we go to 9 and I don’t know but, it simply is determined by what the state of affairs requires. it could possibly be (Matt) Thomas, it could possibly be (Chris) Boucher, it could possibly be Stanley (Johnson) it could possibly be Malcolm (Miller). It could possibly be any a type of three or 4 guys.”
It turned out it wasn’t any of them as all have been DNP’s for the sport.
Davis however was just a little little bit of every thing in his NBA debut.
He confirmed completely no worry taking each open shot he was supplied whereas pulling down two-of-six. He was an lively rebounder and stunningly excessive leaper knocking down 5 boards to not point out a keen passer ending with two assists.
Fred VanVleet is one other man who’s going to get an enormous alternative to interrupt out this season with Kawhi Leonard now not round.
VanVleet, who got here off the bench a 12 months in the past received the beginning beside Kyle Lowry within the backcourt and answered the decision in a giant method with 34 factors matching Siakam for sport excessive together with 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
He’s a man Nurse stated he expects he’ll be relying on all season to assist offset the lack of the opposite man not named Kawhi in Danny Inexperienced who now performs for the Lakers.
“It’s probably not the identical place, however that’s kinda what we’re doing,” Nurse stated of placing VanVleet within the spot occupied by Inexperienced within the championship season. “Fred’s form of a management man. He’s a peaceful, cool, collected man (like Inexperienced). He’ll step in and take a shot while you want him to. I believe that’s Fred’s spot now.”
On opening evening VanVleet gave Nurse every thing he may have requested for.