The Toronto Raptors have been to the playoffs just twice in the last 11 years, and it’s been five years since their fans got to attend a postseason game. Only once in franchise history has Toronto advanced past the first round.
This season the Raptors are arguably the third best team in the East, a team with a real shot at making the second round. You can call that a dubious honor considering the season and you’d be right. However, a playoff run would be a great reward for a loyal (and larger than most Americans realize) fan base starved for wins. Consider it a detour on the rebuilding road, not a long-term change of plans.
Along those lines, the Raptors have all but pulled Kyle Lowry off the trade market, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
“We’ve heard it from [Toronto] that he won’t be moved,” a rival front office executive told Yahoo Sports.
While there are never absolutes – especially if a team makes an unexpectedly rich offer – Toronto officials and sources close to Lowry have emphasized lately that Lowry appears destined to finish the season with the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors.
This means the Raptors could well lose Lowry for nothing — he can be a free agent this summer and as we told you before Toronto is hesitant to give Lowry a deal in the four-year, $40 million or more range. But there is a good chance someone will. Lowry has the reputation of being a disruptive player in the locker room, but one that can play.
The second part of that is certainly true — Toronto is not talking playoffs without him. More than talking playoffs, the Raptors are counting on him leading them there.
Kevin Durant said last season playing the Thunder is “never going to be a regular game for me.”
Now, the Warriors star, who’s questionable for tomorrow’s game in Oklahoma City, is singing a different tune.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
Just a regular game for me now. I learned how to tune out the crowd. I learned how to tune out the bulls— and just play. Just keep at basketball, and I’ll be alright.
Durant is entitled to change his mind, and maybe that’s all that happened.
But this strikes me as yet another chasm between how Durant actually feels and how he wishes he felt – all while facing immense public scrutiny.
Durant spent eight years in Oklahoma City. Many of his former teammates, including Russell Westbrook, are still there. Durant might want to move on, but how could there not be a different feeling when playing the Thunder, especially in Oklahoma City?
DeMarcus Cousins got ejected from the Pelicans’ win over the Thunder last night for elbowing Russell Westbrook in the head.
Afterward, Tony Allen came to his New Orleans teammate’s defense.
Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:
Did Cousins elbow Westbrook in the head? Yes. Did Westbrook create and/or embellish the contact? I don’t know.
Westbrook stuck his head in close, and he might have been baiting Cousins into a foul. But that doesn’t give Cousins carte blanche to commit a foul.
And even if Westbrook were baiting Cousins, the elbow still might have hurt. Westbrook’s reaction could have been genuine.
Did Cousins’ reputation as a flagrant fouler influence Westbrook’s strategy and how officials perceived the play? It’s much easier to convince me of that.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Retired NBA star Ray Allen believes he is a victim of “catfishing,” and has asked a court to throw out a case where he is accused of stalking someone he met online.
Allen says Bryant Coleman “pretended to be a number of attractive women interested in” him. In documents filed Tuesday, Allen acknowledges he communicated with who he thought were those women and that he eventually entered into an agreement with Coleman to not disclose details of those conversations.
Allen says that agreement was violated.
It was not clear if Coleman has an attorney, and a working phone number for him could not be found. Coleman told the court in a filing Monday that Allen is stalking him; in Allen’s request for an injunction, he says “the reverse is true.”
Man-on-the-street interviews are a staple of local news.
They just don’t usually include Warriors star Klay Thompson.
But here’s Thompson – in town for Golden State’s win over the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday – talking on Fox 5 New York about walking under scaffolding in the wake of a couple recent scaffolding collapses:
Thompson is the only NBA star who could do this interview so earnestly.