If Toronto’s offense needed a confidence boost this early in the preseason, it was the Cairns Taipans of the Australian National Basketball League who provided it.
The visiting Australian group, who admittedly lost some key players due to illness and injury, were even able to gain ten playersTh Elfrid Payton, who was selected overall in the NBA draft to make up for the losses, was overwhelmed from the start in this case.
The Raptors starters and first five players off the bench combined to score 71 points in the first half, ending the game early.
Led by Scottie Barnes with 14 points, the Raptors’ starting five spread the scoring, with Chris Boucher (playing in place of the under-performing Jakob Poeltl) and Pascal Siakam both finishing with 12 points and OG Anunoby with 10
Off the bench, Malachi Flynn had 10 points and Jalen McDaniels and Thad Young had nine each to lead the way in that first half.
Payton the 10thTh The 2014 NBA Draft pick was aiming for an NBA comeback with the Indiana Pacers until he was released a few weeks ago.
With the Taipans lacking a squad, he was more than willing to take the opportunity to showcase his game. Peyton had played 26 minutes at the end and made the most of it with 21 points, one less than Patrick Miller, who was ahead with 22 points.
Payton hasn’t played in the NBA since 2021-22, when he was with the Phoenix Suns.
The Raptors will continue their NBA preseason on Tuesday night in Chicago before returning home for the fourth and final game of the preseason against Washington on Friday.
Javon Freeman-Liberty, one of three Raptors with two-way contracts, had a great second half for the hosts, scoring 15 points in just 14 minutes.
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