Rudy Gay played his first game with the Raptors on Friday, after being the main piece in a three-team trade that sent him out of Memphis due to the team’s finances more than anything else.
Gay came off the bench in his Toronto debut, and finished with a team-high 20 points in 33 minutes as his team put together a complete dismantling of the Clippers.
The three-pointer over Grant Hill to end the third was my favorite of his shots on the night, but there were plenty of highlights to choose from. Gay scored inside and out, and shot 8-of-16 from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point distance.
The Clippers were without Chris Paul due to injury, and Matt Barnes due to his serving a one-game suspension. But even with those guys missing, the game shouldn’t have been this lopsided. Thanks to the spark that Gay provided, however, the Raptors seemed unusually energized by their recent acquisition — at least for a single night.
PBT Extra: Who wins MVP, other NBA end-of-season awards?
The NBA’s award season seems more wide open than ever.
Ben Simmons was going to enter the season as the heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year, but with him out injured the door is flung open to a lot of players. Coach of the Year is always a game of “which coach exceeds expectations.” Even MVP seems more open with Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant — the award winners the past three seasons — teamed up in the Bay Area.
In this latest PBT Extra I throw out my predictions for the awards, but let’s get on with the games next week and see who earns them.
Sixers Nerlens Noel to miss time following surgery on sore knee
The Sixers announced that Nerlens Noel will miss time following surgery to deal with soreness in his left knee. Here is the word from the press release itself:
During the normal course of evaluation and treatment for his left adductor strain, which was identified on October 6, Noel reported localized soreness in his left knee. After consulting with multiple specialists, the source of the soreness was identified as inflamed plica. Noel has elected to address the injury via a minor surgical procedure in the coming days.
The team gives no timeline for Noel’s return. Soreness from the plica — a band of tissue around the knee that is not important following birth — happens in some players and can be fixed by an arthroscopic surgery that removes the area being irritated. While the surgery is minor, it usually takes around six weeks to bounce back from this.
That likely means a little more run for Jahlil Okafor (just coming back from an injury of his own) and Richaun Holmes. But it’s just another injury setback for a Sixers team plagued by them.
The Sixers also announced that Jerryd Bayless will not have surgery on his wrist, but will remain out and be evaluated in two weeks.
If you didn’t watch the final seconds of the WNBA Finals, you should
After a back-and-forth, even series between the Minnesota Lynx and the Los Angeles Sparks, it came down to the final seconds (although maybe it shouldn’t have, the WNBA admitted Friday the referees missed a call with 1:14 left, giving the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike a bucket on a shot after the shot clock expired).
The biggest stars took over at the end, as you can see in the video above: L.A.’s Candace Parker drives and scores with 19 seconds left putting the Sparks up 75-74; Minnesota responded with a Maya Moore jumper to take the lead back, then it came down to Ogwumike (the WNBA’s 2016 MVP) getting the ball after a block by Sylvia Fowles and following it up with a fadeaway bucket that gave Los Angeles the title.
Congrats to Candace Parker on the win, after how she’s been overlooked on the awards circuit in the WNBA this season, this is some sweet revenge.
Report: Jrue Holiday’s wife, Lauren Holiday, undergoes successful brain surgery