Kyle Lowry to critics of him playing All-Star weekend: “Come say it to my face”

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Kyle Lowry took part in the All-Star Saturday Three-Point Contest. Then he participated in the All-Star Game on Sunday. He admitted to getting in a round of golf on that Monday.

Lowry has not played in a Raptors game since then, needing wrist surgery to remove “loose bodies” from the wrist that had been bothering him and getting worse. He hopes to be back for the playoffs. That sent the Raptors from thinking — with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker — they might be able to climb back up to the two seed, to wondering if they can hold off Atlanta and keep home court in the first round.

It’s not hard to draw a line for fans on Twitter, or for talk radio hosts, Lowry shouldn’t have played All-Star weekend. Even though the “loose bodies” in his wrist are a repetitive use injury — meaning it didn’t happen with one moment or blow, rather it built up over a long time, meaning years — people tend to make simplistic assumptions that confirm what they want to hear. And frustrated Raptors fans are letting Lowry hear it on social media.

Well, he’d hear it if he was listening. Here is what he said pregame Monday, via Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun.

“I didn’t pay no attention to it to be honest,” Lowry said. “I enjoyed my all-star weekend. If anybody had any problem with it, come say it to my face. That’s how I feel.”

Lowry also confirmed the injury was years in the making.

“From what I’ve been told, it’s a 10-year process,” Lowry said.

“It’s a long process of wear and tear, and bumping and grinding, and hitting guys. It’s a little bit of wear and tear. It was just at the point where it got a little bit worse to the point where I couldn’t play. If it’s that serious for me, I knew it was something that needed to be checked on.”

I don’t think you can knock a guy for wanting to be on the court, and wanting to rep his team on a big stage.

The Raptors are in the best stretch of basketball in franchise history, including winning 56 games last season and making the conference finals for the first time ever. This year they are on pace for 48 wins and, assuming they stay the four seed, would likely face the Cavaliers in the second round.

That’s not the step forward some were hoping for. That said, management clearly knows its window is right now and made a smart, aggressive move by trading for Ibaka (with the intention of re-signing him this summer). That’s a move designed to help them match up with Cleveland. Of course, the real problem is Cleveland still has one LeBron James, and there is no counter to that. But the Raptors have tried to position themselves if the Cavaliers are not fully themselves come the playoffs.

Lowry will be there for that — and everyone complaining knows they need him to have a chance in that series. Those same fans will be back on board soon enough.

 

 

 

 

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

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This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?