If the Toronto Raptors are serious about making a playoff run this season they will need Kyle Lowry at the point. At 22-21 they currently lead the Atlantic Division and would be the four seed heading into the playoffs, and in the East the idea of the Raptors making the second round of the playoffs if they remain a sixth seed or higher is a reasonable one.
But being the third best team in the East this season is fool’s gold and Raptors GM Masai Ujiri knows it, he knows he needs to build long term. He also knows it is likely Lowry bolts Toronto via free agency this summer.
Which path is Toronto going to take?
Marc Stein of ESPN says other people around the league think they will be moving Lowry.
Toronto is in a good position here.
This is a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2008 and has only gone twice in the past dozen years. A playoff run, even one that just lasted one round, is something the fans would enjoy (especially since the Andrew Wiggins dream is all but dead for them). As long as Toronto keeps Lowry they are almost a lock to make the playoffs in the East (although streaking Brooklyn could catch them for the Atlantic Division lead).
And if a team does present Toronto with a good offer for Lowry, they take it and build for the future. Which is what is happening there this year whether they take a one-year detour into the postseason or not.
The bottom line, expect a lot of Lowry Trade rumors the next few weeks as we race toward the Feb. 20 trade deadline.
Marcus Morris fouled Larry Nance Jr. in Celtics-Cavaliers Game 5 tonight. Nance didn’t like that, got up and shoved Morris. Morris and Terry Rozier didn’t like that, and both shoved Morris.
All three received a technical foul, which seems fair.
Andre Iguodala missed the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to the Rockets with a leg injury.
It’s not certain he – or Klay Thompson, who played through a knee injury suffered in Game 4 – will be available for Game 5 tomorrow.
NBC Sports Bay Area:
Klay Thompson, who suffered a left knee strain during the first half of Game 4, is listed as questionable, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.
Iguodala missed Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion and is questionable for Game 5.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic:
Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Iguodala:
He’s feeling a little better today, and he’s out on the floor. Not doing a whole lot, but making progress.
Kerr on Thompson:
Klay is moving around really well. I think Klay is going to be fine.
That sounds better than “questionable” for Thompson.
The Warriors need one, maybe both, of those two on the court. Golden State’s depth, especially on the wing, is looking shaky.
In Game 4, Golden State outscored Houston by 20 in the 31 minutes Stephen Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green played together. In the in the 17 minutes they played without even one of those stars, the Warriors got outscored by 23. Nick Young, who received more playing time when Thompson left the court area due to his injury, looked particularly overwhelmed.
James Harden‘s defense is a huge bellwether in this series. The Warriors spend a lot of focus trying to exploit him, and if that fails, the shot clock gets low before they move into another action. If Thompson is even just slowed, that’d make it easier for Harden to keep up.
Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrested – but not charged – over a parking violation in January.
As promised, Milwaukee released video of the incident.
Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.
We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.
There needs to be more accountability.
The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.
Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist. As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.
The video isn’t jarring due to its unfortunate familiarity – particularly compared to the many videos we’ve seen of police brutality around the nation. The scene is far too familiar. Police escalate a situation and enact violence upon someone they encounter, disproportionately minorities.
The most shocking element of this incident is the response – how the police chief acknowledges his offers acted inappropriately and how STRONGLY the Bucks stand behind Brown. That is one sharply worded statement from the team.
Hopefully, this sparks change.
During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.
The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.
Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.
But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.
Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.