Just a hideous display of basketball in Indiana on Tuesday, but somebody had to win, and it was the Toronto Raptors.
After suffering a tough loss in triple-overtime just the night before, the Raptors will take the win any way they could get it. But the team set a record for futility in the process.
It was a good thing that Toronto somehow carried an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, because they only managed to score five points in the final period. It was the lowest fourth-quarter point total by a winning team in the shot clock era, or since the 1955-56 season (via ESPN Stats & Info).
That’s 56 years.
Kurt Helin broke doen some of the numbers in our recap post — In the second half, Toronto shot just 6-of-33 from the field and committed seven turnovers. The fourth quarter was particularly brutal, one where the Raptors went 1-of-15 from the field, while committing five turnovers and getting outrebounded by seven.
And yet, they still won.
The Pacers are a disaster since Danny Granger went down with injury, and with Roy Hibbert playing like Jamaal Magloire reincarnated — you know, one questionable All-Star selection, followed by many seasons of playing nowhere near that level — Indiana is going to be doing a lot of losing.
But dropping this one to the Raptors, after they had Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon each playing over 48 minutes the night before, and DeMar DeRozan playing a whopping 60 — well, that’s got to be way more embarrassing than the record-setting fourth quarter from Toronto, despite its place in the history books.
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.