Associated Press

Enough DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry get Raptors ugly win over Bucks 87-76, series tied 2-2


This game wasn’t pretty. If anything it was much closer to 1997 basketball than 2017 — the game was physical, slow, there was plenty of grabbing, teams shot a combined 23.3 percent from three, there was a lot of isolation basketball, and ball and player movement were sporadic at best.

The Toronto Raptors don’t care.

In desperate need of a win after falling behind 2-1 in the series, the Raptors got what they needed — big games from DeMar DeRozan (33 points) and Kyle Lowry (18), plus improved defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo — and that was enough for an 87-76 victory.

The series is now tied 2-2 heading back to Toronto for Game 3 on Monday.

If the Raptors were going to get back in this series, it had to start with their All-Star guards playing up to that billing, and Saturday afternoon it happened.

In the first half it was DeRozan carrying Toronto, bouncing back from an 0-of-8 shooting performance in Game 3. DeRozan was 8-of-14 for 21 points in the first half, the rest of the Raptors combined were 7-of-28 with 20 points. DeRozan finished the game with 33 points on 22 shots, and had nine rebounds and five rebounds.

The Bucks were struggling as well, and it was tied 41-41 at the half.

The second half saw what the Raptors really need in this series — the emergence of Lowry. He was attacking and had 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting, three assists, and he was creating looks for everyone. He had struggled for the first three games against the length of the Bucks defenders and how they covered the pick-and-roll, but he finally seemed to get a comfort level. Toronto needs him to stay in that zone in Game 5.

Toronto needed more than just its stars, it needed better defense on Antetokounmpo, and they got it, he was 0-of-7 shooting in the second half and finished the game with 14 points on 19 shots. P.J. Tucker deserves particular credit for his defense on the Greek Freak.

Tony Snell ended up leading the Bucks in scoring off the bench with 19, including hitting five threes. If anything, Jason Kidd needed to go to more of him (and Kris Middleton) in the fourth, those two rested too long.

The Raptors also did a good job of slowing the game down, making it a half-court slog, which suits them much better than the more athletic Bucks.

The questions become: In an even series, can the Raptors carry over what they did right, and can the Bucks adjust? Raptors coach Dwane Casey brought Jonas Valanciunas off the bench, can the Bucks use that to their advantage and get Antetokounmpo switched onto smaller defenders? The Bucks looked like a young team when it came to finding and exploiting mismatches in this game. (Norman Powell got the start instead so the Raptors could play small, and he finished with a dozen points and had some key threes.)

If Lowry can play like he did in the second half for the rest of this series, you have to like Toronto’s chances.

DeRozan has 29, Raptors win 11th straight, beat Mavs 122-115

Leave a comment

TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan made the game-winning basket in overtime and the Toronto Raptors rallied to match the longest winning streak in franchise history, extending their season-best run to 11 by beating the Dallas Mavericks 122-115 on Friday night.

DeRozan scored 29 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors won for the 18th time in 19 games. Kyle Lowry got the night off to rest as the Raptors played the second game of the back-to-back.

Delon Wright had 15 points and Fred VanVleet scored 14, helping Toronto improved to an NBA-best 29-5 at home.

Dallas had won three of four. Harrison Barnes scored 27 points for the Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. had 19 and J.J. Barea 18.

Up 84-78 to begin the fourth, Dallas stretched its lead to 101-93 on a jump shot by Barnes with 5:43 remaining, but four points from DeRozan cut it to 101-97 with 4:32 left.

Toronto kept coming, pulling within two on a pair of free throws by DeRozan and, after a Dallas turnover, tying it at 106 on DeRozan’s jumper with 1:15 to go in regulation.

Each team turned the ball over before Barnes missed a jumper with 24 seconds left and VanVleet grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, DeRozan let the clock wind down before driving and kicking to Serge Ibaka, who missed a potential game-winning shot. DeRozan also missed before the buzzer, sending it to overtime.

VanVleet and Dallas’ Dwight Powell each made a 3 in overtime before DeRozan drove for the tiebreaking basket with 53 seconds left.

Valanciunas sealed it by making five of six at the free-throw line in the final 10 seconds.

Toronto also extended its franchise-record streak of games with 100 or more points to 22.


Kevin Durant has fractured ribs, out a couple of weeks

Getty Images

The injury bug is hitting the Warriors hard — not with anything that seems like it will last into the playoffs, but it’s still a concern.

Stephen Curry (ankle) and Klay Thompson (fractured thumb), Draymond Green is just returning to the rotation (along with David West and Jordan Bell), and now this — Kevin Durant is going to be out a couple of weeks.

What incomplete means is it is nondisplaced, or to use the slang it is a cracked rib. The bone was not moved out of place and does not need to be reset.

The good news for Warriors fans about all these injuries are they should heal up in a couple of weeks and the Warriors should be fully loaded for bear come the playoffs. And no doubt this team knows what it needs to do to win, it can get back into its groove quickly.

So long as we’re not talking about all these injuries in the second week of April, Warriors fans do not need to worry.

Baseline jumper gives Dirk Nowitzki 11,000 made baskets in NBA

Associated Press

We need to savor these final years — potentially final games — of Dirk Nowitzki‘s career. The future Hall of Famers is one of the great pure shooters, and probably the greatest shooting big man, in NBA history.

The Maverick’s star hit another milestone Friday night, 11,000 made NBA baskets. Only eight others have reached that mark, and Nowitzki did it with a high arc baseline jumper.

The man is a marvel.

Dallas was up 60-54 on Toronto at the half.

Report: Jazz to sign David Stockton, son of Utah legend John Stockton, to 10-day contract

Getty Images

The Utah Jazz have been on a roll — they have gone 20-2 of late — but the point guard ranks are getting thin. Ricky Rubio has a knee contusion that may keep him out for a game or two, and his backup Raul Neto is out with a fractured wrist. This is where the Jazz are making a smart move, bringing in a 10-day contract guy for depth and getting a look at him.

That guy? David Stockton. Son of Hall-of-Famer and Jazz legend John Stockton. Via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

G League guard David Stockton, son of Utah Jazz legend John Stockton, is signing a 10-day contract with the team, league sources told ESPN. Stockton, 25, is expected to join the Jazz today, sources said.

Stockton, who played his college ball at Gonzaga like his father, has spent most of this season with the Reno Big Horns and averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 assists a night. Watching him in Summer League, Stockton is a smart, floor general kind of point guard who knows how to run a team. He is not as athletic as most of the guys he has gone up against, but he knows how to compensate.

However long this lasts, it’s good to see a Stockton in a Jazz uniform again.