The Toronto Raptors got shelled by the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, 108-88, but one loss in a great big season is likely the last thing on the mind of everyone in the Raptors organization right now. Emerging star Kyle Lowry, who has started the season as hot as anyone north of James Harden, has been the key to the Raptors being competitive this season. He’s slashed, hit shots from incredible range, and rebounded his tail off. Lowry is really the working man’s point guard — tough and relentless — so maybe that’s why it’s so difficult to watch him roll his ankle on a total freak play.
There’s no telling how bad the injury is yet, but Lowry’s reaction is an early indicator that this might be more serious than a day-to-day thing. Let’s make one thing clear — Jose Calderon is a solid point guard, but Toronto’s chances of reaching the playoffs fly out of the window if Lowry is out for an extended period of time. He’s the only player on the roster capable of breaking down a defense and distributing, and there really isn’t any area where having Lowry on the floor hurts you. He’s a complete player who takes nothing off the table, and last I checked, the Raptors don’t have many of those guys around.
We’ll keep you updated as more details come out about the injury, but keep your fingers crossed and hope that one of the most exciting players in the game escapes this relatively unscathed.
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.