Sunday, October 2, 2022

The Raptors started the pre-season with an impressive victory over the Jazz in Edmonton. CBC Sports

The Toronto Raptors opened their exhibition season on Sunday, effective at their Canadian home away from home.

Pre-season or not, holding an NBA team—even one that’s in rebuild mode like the Utah Jazz—is notable for only 33 second-half points. And that’s what the Raptors did in a blistering 114-82 win at Rogers Place.

Leading only one to enter the second half, the Toronto Raptors started the third quarter with a 17-3 run in the pre-season opener for both teams.

The Jazz, a team that is in the process of rebuilding after stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were turned away during the off-season, looked exactly like a club, starting from scratch, at night. Was shooting 32.6 percent off the floor and 23 turnovers.

A capacity crowd watched the pre-season curtain riser at Rogers Place. Tickets for the NBA Canada Series game sold out minutes after they went on sale, and tickets for the lower bowl were going for over $700 each on secondary sales sites.

“The crowd is in it, this is a chance they can see us in our hometown or home area,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse. “And, they usually bring it up. It’s good because, listen, there’s a lot of pre-season games that you go through that have zero energy and almost lean toward negative energy. We don’t have to go through that, and that It’s fun.”

The Raptors were led by 11 points and 10 rebounds from Chris Boucher, one of five Canadian players to see the floor in the game. Kelly Olinic (no points, six rebounds) and Nickel Alexander-Walker (no points, five rebounds) took to the floor for the Jazz, while Dalano Banton (nine points), and Khem Burch (five points, five rebounds) also saw the time. For the Raptors.

Of the 18 players on the Raptors’ game roster, only Thaddeus Young did not score.

Jazz ushered in a facelift with twin towers of seven-foot Laurie Markkanen and Olenik, an inch shy of seven feet on the front court. Markkanen finished as the Jazz’s game’s high scorer with 20 points.

Raptors’ seven-foot rookie Christian Koloko made the most of his time on the floor, bringing the crowd to his feet with a highlight-reel second quarter put-back dunk, and later completed a dunk attempt using his massive wingspan. .

Edmonton native Matthew Kallio was one of the officials on the floor for the game. He was a non-staff referee for the NBA and also officiated at the Tokyo Olympics, but it was revealed in August that he was going to become a staff officer for the league. He has relocated to Calgary, but it was special to be a part of the sport in his hometown.

“Very honored and proud,” he said. “It’s been a long journey, a lot of work to get here. But, at the same time, it’s a basketball game. I love this sport. But I cherish the moment after the game, after the job is done.” I’ll do it.”

Kallio’s first game to date was played at Rosslyn School in Edmonton. Kallio was a junior-high student, and was asked to referee a junior game because no other referees were available.

“I decided to throw a whistle around my neck and jump on the floor because my [physical education] The teacher asked me.”

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