Tag: Luis Scola


Watch Luis Scola drop 35 and 13 to lead Argentina past Canada at FIBA America


Raptors fans had to feel conflicted.

On one hand, they got to see their new power forward show that he still has a lot in the tank. There are questions about how the Raptors rebuilt their roster this summer, but if he plays like this Luis Scola can answer a few of them.

On the other hand, those Raptors fans are Canadians excited about their strong young national team — and Scola just torched them.

Score one for the old guard as Scola and Argentina beat Canada 97-84 behind 35 points and 13 rebounds from Scola Tuesday. He did it with his deliberate, physical, crafty, below-the-rim game.

Canada’s athletic young team — led by Andrew Wiggins, who had 13 in the game — looked a little tentative in their first game as potential favorites on a big stage. The top two finishers at FIBA Americas get a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and there is an expectation Canada will land one of those slots.

Argentina came out with an intensity and desire Canada did not match. Argentina has been on the big stages before — they are the 2004 Olympic gold medalists — and it showed.

Canada can right the ship Wednesday against Cuba (a game Canada should win handily). From there they should be able to get the wins to get to the knockout stage, and then they just need to play more like Scola and Argentina to advance.

Andrew Wiggins dunks on Andres Nocioni, bumps him again while hanging on rim (video)

Kelly Olynyk

Andrew Wiggins, representing Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship, drove past his defender and dunked on former NBA player Andres Nocioni. It was a fantastic play.

Hanging on the rim and bumping a dejected Nocioni? That was just insulting – and I mean that as an absolute positive.

Unfortunately for Wiggins and the Canadians, Luis Scola (35 points and 13 rebounds) led Argentina to a 94-87 victory.

Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino both sitting out FIBA Americans for Argentina


It’s the season of Olympic qualifying tournaments: Australia is already in, AfroBasket is going on, EuroBasket starts next month, and don’t forget there is FIBA Americas where teams from north and south America try to join the already qualified USA (World Cup winners) and Brazil (host nation) in Rio.

Argentina, which won the gold medal in Greece in 2004 and the bronze in 2008 in China, will again be trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics, but they will have to do it without a couple stars — Manu Ginobili and Carlos Delfino.

From Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Canadians are following closely because they believe they can win the FIBA Tournament and qualify).

Gregg Popovich is smiling somewhere. Ginobili is 38, coming up on likely his last NBA season, but the Spurs will still count on his creative playmaking off the bench. They don’t want him worn down.

Delfino has battled injuries, hasn’t been on an NBA court since 2013, and is currently unsigned. He’s not healthy enough to pitch in much.

Argentina still has Luis Scola, but their “golden generation” that helped change international basketball has started to age out of competition. Which is a little sad, that was a fun team to watch, but father time always wins the race.

Patrick Patterson: Raptors starting power forward my job to lose

Toronto Raptors v Indiana Pacers

The Raptors essentially have four locks in their starting lineup:

  • Point guard: Kyle Lowry
  • Shooting guard: DeMar DeRozan
  • Small forward: DeMarre Carroll
  • Center: Jonas Valanciunas

What about power forward, where Amir Johnson started before signing with the Celtics?

Patrick Patterson, via Morgan Campbell of the Toronto Star:

“I see it as it’s mine to lose . . . But it’s all about what coach (Dwane) Casey wants, what (general manager) Masai (Ujiri) sees, and who works hard and who earns it.”

Patterson will have competition, primarily from Luis Scola. Terrence Ross and James Johnson could also push their way into the starting lineup if Toronto goes small.

But I agree with Patterson: He’s the favorite for the position.

Patterson has developed into a solid stretch four, and he’ll space the floor for Jonas Valanciunas’ post-ups. The key will be Patterson defending well enough, especially with the Raptors recommitting to that end. But he has shown an ability to handle Casey’s defensive system, and it’s not as if Scola can use defense to steal the starting job.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey talks about shift to more defensive team in Toronto

DeMarre Carroll

It’s easy to forget because of the drama around the Rudy Gay trade and emergence of Kyle Lowry, but the Toronto Raptors were a top-10 defensive team in the 2013-14 season.

Last season, not so much. The Raptors finished 23rd in the NBA giving up 104.8 points per 100 possessions. They were 26th in opponent field goal percentage, 20th in opponent offensive rebounds allowed, and 19th in opponent assists allowed.

GM Massi Ujiri spent the summer trying to remake the Toronto roster into something better defensively — that started with landing free agent DeMarre Carroll, who gives them a quality perimeter defender (something Toronto lacked).

Raptors Coach Dwane Casey talked with John Schuhmann at NBA.com about the transition to more of a defensive-focused roster, starting with the pitch the team made to win Carroll over.

“We need you. You’re a defensive guy. We want to be a defensive team. We had been until last year. We moved from 30th [in defensive efficiency in 2010-11, the season before Casey was hired] to top 10, and then took a step back unwillingly. He’s a big part of us taking that next step. That was the pitch.”

How does Carroll change things?

“It’s going to help us, with the fact that DeMarre Carroll can guard his position. We’ve been getting by with Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan, who are really twos, playing the three and physically trying to go against bigger threes. Whether it’s been on the boards or guarding them, it’s been a challenge for those guys. I thought they did an admirable job two years ago, but it took a toll on us this past year, offensively and defensively. DeMarre gives us some size and physicality at that position.”

The Raptors, after a couple good regular seasons the last two years, have gotten slapped around in the playoffs. Carroll and the other roster changes — letting Lou Williams go, adding Bismack Biyombo — is an effort to put together a team that is better built for the playoffs.

Carroll is at the heart of that.

At the end of games, the trend is to go smaller. Threes are fours, fours are fives, and your roster has to fit that. Adding DeMarre gives us that flexibility. He can play some at the four, with Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson at the five. We’re better equipped to play that way now than we were a year ago.

The Raptors are going to win the Atlantic Division again, although looking at the roster it can bit a bit of a hollow victory. To take a significant step forward when it matters the Raptors will need a lot out of Lowry, and a lot more out of Jonas Valanciunas and the bench. Casey is a smart coach, with a season to figure it all out.