Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
This was the first In-Season Tournament game for the Toronto Raptors who are 4-8 on the season. They had a tall mountain to climb playing the 9-2 Boston Celtics who were playing in their third game of the Tournament. While the Raptors kept the game within 10 points all night they lost by three points falling to 0-1 in the tournament.
This game adds to the list of things I do not like about this In-Season Tournament which I shared at the end of my post a few days ago. There is no reason at all the Raptors should have been playing their first Tournament game on the fourth night of tournament games when The Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New Jersey Nets all played three games before play started on Friday. One of those three teams should have been playing Toronto on November 10th or November 14th since they all have to play each other during the regular season anyways.
Chicago Bulls vs. Orlando Magic
In this game we saw two team winless in the tournament games playing each other. Going into this game the team that has looked better so far this season was the Magic who are 6-5 on the season. While the Bulls should be at .500 with at 6-6 record they are not, they are 4-8.
The Bulls jumped out to a quick 6-1 lead in the first quarter and while they were able to keep that lead for most of the first quarter they quickly fell apart and were down by 15 at half-time. While they did make a come back in the second half they still fell short by six points falling to 0-2 in the tournament and 4-9 on the season.
Here’s the thing folks: Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan are not playing as expected and rumors are picking up that all three will be traded west in the same deal. Possibly to the Lakers. I do not see that happening without it being a multi-team mega deal. However, I can see two of the three being traded before Christmas in separate deals and the third by the trade deadline on February 8, 2024.
I just do not see any team taking on LaVine’s four year $40+ million dollar contract with his inconsistent play throughout his career. He simply is not worth that kind of money when there are Guards available who have played with more consistency over the last few seasons.
Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks
Another game where we saw two teams winless in tournament play and in this one it was obvious which one would likely come out with the win because of their regular season records. The Knicks jumped out to an early lead of 13-4 after four and a half minutes. They would never look back and ended up winning by 21.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers
In this game we saw the Lakers who are unbeaten in tournament play with two wins playing the Blazers who are 1-1. That said, both teams started this game below .500 on the season. At the half the Lakers were up by 10 and while the Blazers were able to keep it close most of the way they wound up losing by 12, 107-95.
LaBron James only played 23 minutes Tuesday night against Memphis but appeared to be back at full strength in this game playing 35 minutes. He scored 35 points on 9 assists and 5 rebounds. Without him at full strength I believe the Blazers would have won a nail biter.
With that… the back-to-back game party continues tonight in Chicago and the Golden State.
If you cannot play with them, root for them.