The Toronto Raptors have been exceptionally careful with Kawhi Leonard‘s return from his nagging quad injury. Leonard’s leg was at least part of the reason he sat out for most of the year in San Antonio in 2017-18, and there’s been no rush in Toronto to agitate his quad further.
Leonard has played in just 26 of Toronto’s 35 games this season, and has not played on back-to-back nights yet. The team has listed Leonard as out due to “load management” recently, drawing some chuckles from the internet’s peanut gallery.
But Leonard’s rest schedule could be about to change drastically in the new year as Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps this week
“I think we are there,” Nurse said. “I think, after we get here to the new year, we’ll be there.
“No promises, but I think we’re there.”
Leonard has been back to his old self when he is on the court this year, and all of his advanced numbers are generally around where they’ve been in Seasons past with the Spurs. Toronto fans have been encouraged by his strong play, and for good reason.
Leonard is a key cog for the Raptors the season. Toronto has struggled with legitimacy in the playoffs each year, and perennial foe LeBron James being in Los Angeles with the Lakers hasn’t helped the confidence of many who have watched the Raptors flame out in the postseason. A fully healthy Leonard should help Toronto ballast themselves come spring.
For now, this is a step toward the eventual goal of a deep playoff run for the Raptors.
DeMar DeRozan fined $25,000 for throwing ball at ref Scott Foster
Many people would like to throw a basketball at NBA official Scott Foster — he’s not exactly the favorite of several NBA players. San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan got his chance to do exactly that this week, and he was promptly given a technical and a ejected from the game.
Now, the NBA has handed down discipline for DeRozan.
On Sunday morning, the NBA announced that they had fined DeRozan $25,000 for throwing a ball at Foster.
Things are heating up in the NBA playoffs, and emotions are running high. No doubt the referees are doing their best, but it’s not been the most impressive performance by the boys in gray thus far.
The officials will continue to face criticism as the playoffs go on, but hopefully people will calm down and cooler heads will prevail from here on out. There’s no need to throw balls or rush into the officials’ locker rooms the way DeRozan and Marks have.
Nets GM Sean Marks gets suspended for going into ref’s locker room after Game 4
Emotions are high as the playoffs move into the second week. Things got a little testy between the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night as Jared Dudley got in the face of Joel Embiid after the Sixers big man committed a hard foul on Jared Allen.
That caused Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler to respond to Dudley, who overreacted to a good, hard playoff foul by Embiid. The result of the fracas was an ejection for Butler and Dudley, and a flagrant 1 on embiid.
But apparently that’s not the end of the disciplinary process for the NBA.
Nets general manager Sean Marks went into the officials locker room after the game — no doubt to discuss what happened here — which is a big problem in the eyes of the league.
Sources: Nets and GM Sean Marks were livid over belief Embiid’s flagrant 1 fouls in Games 2/4 should’ve been deemed a 2. More than message to league with ref challenge, Marks intended to message his team on how franchise is determined to support way they're competing in series.
You set up a bonding experience with your son or daughter, one you hope will leave an impression on them and create a memory that will last a lifetime… for example, you get courtside seats, just behind the basket, for one of the first NBA playoff games in Brooklyn, ever.
Then everything hits the fan.
Joel Embiid commits a flagrant foul on Jarrett Allen, Jared Dudley rushes in and shoves Embiid to stand up for his teammate, Jimmy Butler runs in to shove Dudley on the same premise, and suddenly there is a wave of large professional athletes about to trample you and your son. So, you grab him, move onto the court, and get out of the way.
There were two fathers with the same thought, one on either side of the fracas that spills into the first row.
Unable to find a new NBA contract for this season, Andrew Bogut went home. The Australia native signed to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL, where Bogut ended up being the league MVP and Defensive Player of the Year, leading the Kings on a deep playoff run.
When that run ended, the Golden State Warriors came calling, asking him to fill a role — a role that got much larger after DeMarcus Cousins tore his quad. Bogut has played well for the Warriors in the postseason, and there is a good chance Cousins will not be back in Golden State (the Warriors can only offer him a small raise off what he made this season, that likely will not be enough, even after the injury), so the Warriors may try to retain Bogut for next season.
“The be all and end all is that I gave my word (to the Kings)… That is basically what it comes down to…
“Someone outside of the Warriors could offer me a deal that would be pretty lucrative and a decent one-year deal, but I’m sold and locked in on coming to the Sydney Kings again to try and better what we did last season.”
Saying you’ll walk away from a lot of money and actually doing it are two different things, but Bogut is a man who stands by his word. He probably returns to Sydney for next season.
When that season ends, however, don’t be shocked to see Bogut back somewhere in the NBA helping a team make a playoff run.