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Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet and rookie Malachi Flynn star as Raptors secure comeback win over Hornets

#FlynnVanVleet
(NBA Getty Images)

For the second time in three days, the Toronto Raptors took on the Charlotte Hornets as part of their preseason schedule.

Coming off a win, the Raptors fell behind early by as many as 14 but they clawed back to remain unbeaten.

Here are a few big takeaways from the team's second preseason game...

FVV flexes muscles

In the first game, VanVleet did with his defence, recording five steals in 17 minutes of action. In the second preseason game, he showed off his offensive game, scoring 23 points in 22 minutes on 9-for-12 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 from beyond the arc, including a buzzer-beater to end the first half.

He also recorded four assists and three steals in his short time on the court.

Rookie Malachi Flynn makes a mark

It's the preseason, which means plenty of time for bench players to establish their spots in the team's rotation.

Through two games, they've done more than just that.

In Game 1, it was Matt Thomas. In Game 2, it was rookie Malachi Flynn. The guard out of San Diego State, drafted 29th overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, finished with 17 points in 19 minutes on 7-for-12 shooting from the field.

Flynn outplayed Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball, the No. 3 overall pick of the Draft, who had 12 points, three rebounds and two assists in this one.

"I think a lot of it has come from my teammates just telling me to be confident," Flynn said postgame about his comfort level at the NBA level.

"They tell me to play my game, so that's what I try to come out here and do."

The Flynn-FVV dynamic

The Flynn and VanVleet dynamic has been covered extensively through the early preseason.

"He's [VanVleet] always in my ear," Flynn said after his breakout game. "Telling me different things whether it's big or small. He's always right there just helping me out. If I got a question, he's going to be right there to answer it. It's definitely nice to have."

Flynn has impressed both his vet and his head coach with his play through two games.

"He's eager to learn and he's humble enough to ask," VanVleet said of Flynn picking his brain. "That's a dangerous combination, when you're humble enough to seek out the info but still have that swagger and confidence."

"Getting the offence initiated and breaking down the defence has been a pleasant surprise," Nurse said of Flynn postgame. "That's not easy to do in this league and to come in and be able to do that, I mean listen, it's still preseason and don't want to get carried away here but he's looked good"

49 combined turnovers?

Both the Hornets and Raptors combined for 49 turnovers. Obviously, that isn't a sign of things to come.

With the starters playing limited minutes, there's not usually much to read into a preseason game. Kyle Lowry not being with the team adds to that.

It would be safe to expect the Raptors to fine-tune things and try to be season-ready in their final warm-up game later this week.

Final preseason game up ahead

After a couple of games in Charlotte, the Raptors travel back to their base in Tampa for the final preseason game.

The final exhibition game will be against the Miami Heat on Friday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 p.m. ET.

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