Tag: Andray Blatche

Greivis Vasquez, Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross

Kyle Lowry punishes Nets as Raptors take first series lead in 13 years


Here came Kyle Lowry with a full head of steam.

The Toronto Raptors point guard caught an inbound pass on the run with two seconds remaining in the first half. He beat one Brooklyn Net, squirted between two others, launched a 3-pointer and then crashed into a fourth Net.

As the ball banked off the backboard and through the net, Lowry lay on his back and raised both in celebration.

After falling to the bottom,Toronto emerged victorious anyway Wednesday with a 115-113 Game 5 victory. The Raptors blew a 26-point lead, but they rallied late for their first series lead since 2001. Up 3-2 on the Nets, Toronto can end the series Friday.

For a while, Toronto’s win seemed assured.

Lowry’s second-quarter buzzer beater capped a 26-4 run, and the Raptors pushed their lead to 26 in the third quarter. They led by 22 in the fourth quarter.

Remarkably, the Nets needed an awesome 18-point third quarter from Joe Johnson just to stay that close. Johnson kept milking his matchup advantage in the fourth quarter, scoring eight more points .

In the final period, though, Johnson finally got help. A balanced lineup that also included Deron Williams (10 fourth-quarter points), Alan Anderson (10), Mirza Teletovic (9) and Andray Blatche (7) carried the Nets on a 29-7 run to tie the game, 101-101.

Then Lowry answered.

With just more than a minute left, Lowry hit another 3-pointer – his sixth of the game on nine attempts. On Toronto’s next possession, Lowry crossed over Williams and finished in the paint amid contact.

After that, the Nets were intentionally fouling, though they had a chance to win at the end.

Following the game, Lowry praised Johnson, who finished with 30 points, 26 of them in the second half.

“There’s a reason he was an All-Star,” said Lowry, who scored 36 points himself.

The Raptors and Nets have a budding rivalry, one fueled by the belief Brooklyn tanked to match up with Toronto in the first round. If there’s any Raptor with grounds to loathe the Nets – or, more accurately, a Net – it’s Lowry.

Lowry should have been an All-Star this season, and this was a true snub. Unlike the Western Conference, where there were more deserving players than roster spots, Lowry was clearly more worthy of selection than multiple All-Stars.

Especially Johnson.

If Lowry sought revenge on Johnson, his pleasant postgame comments certainly didn’t indicate it. This is a calmer Lowry, one who also had six assists and only one turnover in 38 minutes. To whatever extent his level-headedness flows over to the floor, it hasn’t interrupted his competitive fire, though.

Asked at halftime about his buzzer beater, Lowry answered a question not posed.

“Yeah, we’ve got to keep it up,” Lowry said, breathing heavily.

To better understand Lowry and the Raptors he leads, dial back a couple possessions from that moment.

Lowry drove and finished through contact, getting knocked to the ground in the paint. He burst up as the Nets went the other way and closely guarded Williams, guiding the point guard into a charge drawn by Chuck Hayes. That’s the only reason Toronto even got that final first-half possession.

Wednesday, Lowry made all the big plays and a lot of small ones, and now his Raptors lead a playoff series. It’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.

But the Raptors also must now know these teams are too evenly matched to rest on their laurels. Press on like Lowry, though, and they’ll be headed to the second round for just the second time ever.

Andray Blatche, a backcourt violation, a possible goaltend and a wild finish in Raptors-Nets Game 5

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Three

With 4.9 seconds remaining in Raptors-Nets Game 5 and Brooklyn down two points, Andray Blatche missed a free throw but grabbed the rebound.

Then, things got weird (aka Blatchey).

Rather than attempt a game-tying 2-pointer, Blatche dribbled out toward the corner. But before he got beyond the arc, he spun and passed to Deron Williams. The ball sailed over the head of Williams, who ran into the backcourt, picked it up and heaved it dangerously on track toward the rim.

Standing near the basket, Jonas Valanciunas poked the ball on its way down, still allowing it to hit the rim. Valanciunas almost certainly saw a backcourt-violation signal, mostly excusing him. But why risk misreading a referee to make that play?

The officials reviewed the backcourt violation and upheld the call, ruling no Raptor tipped the pass, and gave Toronto the ball.

From there, the game ended relatively quietly. Greivis Vasquez threw the final inbound pass toward the Raptors’ own basket, giving the Nets a chance to steal and shoot from close range. A leaping Williams couldn’t quite intercept the ball, though, and Terrence Ross caught it to finally guarantee a 115-113 Toronto win.

Andray Blatche misses wide open dunk (VIDEO)

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets

The Nets continued to roll on Friday with an easy win over the Cavaliers, and with Brooklyn comfortably ahead midway through the fourth, that was apparently enough for Andray Blatche to completely lose focus.

After receiving the pass from Alan Anderson, Blatche had the ball all alone under the basket, but somehow missed the throw-down after going up for the dunk on the other side.

Blatche has been known to showcase some unusual offensive prowess during Nets blowout victories this season, but this time he made the highlight reel for all the wrong reasons.

[via The Brooklyn Game]

John Wall turned around Washington Wizards’ season once teammates demanded he lead

Martell Webster; John Wall

If players were robots, the Washington Wizards’ contract extension for John Wall last summer would have made no sense.

The Wizards gave Wall a maximum contract a year before they had to. Why not wait to see whether Wall stayed healthy this season or progressed as hoped?

If all went well, re-signing him would remain on the table. If not, Washington would have avoided a costly mistake.

But players aren’t robots. They’re human beings with thoughts and emotions.

That’s why Washington extended Wall when it did — for moments like this, when the Wizards started the season 2-7.

Shams Charania or RealGM:

Essentially, teammates gave Wall the room, centered him in a classroom setting and asked: What should our roles be? You’re the heralded franchise star, the organization’s maximum salary designation. How about you tell us?

“From that day forward, I knew I was the guy, the leader, and I knew that they trusted me,” Wall told RealGM. “I let everybody know what I thought about our state. I think we were passing the ball, but when you’re not playing good for a stretch, frustration sets in. So guys find a way to blame it on somebody else or something else. Nene told me to stand up in front of the whole team and told me, ‘You’re our leader, you’re our franchise guy, so tell us what you think everybody’s roles are.’

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The Wizards made no secret making the playoffs this season was their primary goal, and with 19 games remaining and a an 8.5 game buffer, they’re going to do it.

Wall’s improved leadership has played a major role in that happening.

Earlier in his career, the Wizards filled their locker room with some real clowns. Gilbert Arenas, Andray Blatche, JaVale McGee and Nick Young were his veteran leaders.

But empowered by management to lead and undistracted by a looming free agency, Wall has set a new agenda in Washington.

I’m not totally convinced the Wizards handled Wall’s extension the best way possible, but there was a method to their madness. Wall’s locker room speech showed it.

Towel boy has to dive out of way of Tyler Hansbrough on break (VIDEO)

Newly acquired NBA basketball player Hansbrough goes up for a slam dunk during a photo shoot  for the Toronto Raptors in Toronto

To be fair to the ball boy, nobody expects Tyler Hansbrough to make a steal on the perimeter then race out on the fast break by himself.

The above happened Monday night late in a close game between Brooklyn and Toronto (with the win Brooklyn is now within three games of the Raptors for the Atlantic division lead, a gap it will not close as Toronto has a much easier schedule ahead). Tied at 90-90 with 3:15 left in the fourth Hansbrough strips Andray Blatche and it is off to the races.

A towel boy out dutifully wiping sweat up off the court is forced to scramble back to the sidelines to avoid getting trampled. He does so with a dramatic dive that almost takes out a referee.

Hansbrough misses the layup. The announcers try to say the ball boy’s distraction had something to do with it, but I think the bigger issue was we are talking Hansbrough — he is shooting 55.9 percent at the rim this season without ball boys in the way. There was a 44 percent chance he was going to miss.

Hat tip to The Brooklyn Game for the video.