Kawhi Leonard is now a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, and Kyle Lowry will try to defend his title in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors next season.
Leonard shows his native Southern California this summer, and without him it’s not clear whether at the Raptors are even the best team in the East anymore. You can make the argument that Toronto will be jockeying for a top-four spot next season.
Still, it seems like there is no bad blood between Lowry and Leonard. Speaking to the Athletic this week, Lowry said that he was happy for Leonard and his decision, and that he wasn’t surprised Kawhi made the choice to go home.
Via The Athletic:
“I wasn’t surprised,” Lowry said. “He texted me and let me know. I told him, ‘I’m happy for you.’ That’s how I’ve always been. I’m happy for the guys, especially a guy that helped you do something fantastic. Do something great. He’s an unbelievable friend of mine and he’s a good guy. He made the decision to go home and I’m happy with that and I’m happy for him. Truly, I am genuinely happy for him. He gets a chance to be around his family and friends and you’ve got to respect the guy and be happy for him.
“He gave us everything he had,” Lowry continued. “He played his butt off. He helped us win a championship. You’ve got to respect that, right?”
Lowry’s sentiments probably match that of many Raptors fans, particularly that last bit. Leonard did help Toronto grab their one and only NBA championship, and for that he should be forever revered in Ontario. When these two teams meet back in Toronto this year, no doubt people will be standing and cheering for Leonard.
In the meantime, it’s good to hear that Lowry and Leonard are still on good terms after the split.
How wild is it that the Grizzlies have two rookies who can dunk like this?
After Ja Morant threw down a jump-out-of-your-seat jam over Aron Baynes a few days ago, Brandon Clarke just made Ian Mahinmi — a good rim protector — look helpless in Memphis’ win over the Wizards yesterday.
Add Jaren Jackson Jr., and the Grizzlies are onto something with their young core.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pioneered resting players.
But San Antonio has played an NBA-record four straight overtime games, meaning the Spurs have had to play an extra 25 minutes.
Popovich, via ESPN:
“It’s awful,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
At least Patty Mills spared San Antonio a sixth overtime period in these four games. After DeMar DeRozan missed a free throw, Mills hit the game-winner in a 121-119 victory over the Suns yesterday.
And at least the Spurs are mostly winning these longer games. In this span, San Antonio beat the Rockets in double overtime, beat the Kings, lost to the Cavaliers and now beat the Suns. I’d also argue the Cleveland result was worth it.
Luka Doncic sprained his ankle during the Mavericks’ loss to the Heat yesterday.
Whether this timeline constitutes good news or bad news depends on your perspective.
Tim MacMahon of ESPN:
Doncic’s injury is a blow not just to Dallas, but the NBA. He’s one of the league’s brightest stars. In the next eight days, the Mavericks make their only appearances of the season in Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Toronto.
Though Doncic has played like an MVP candidate, the Mavericks also boast considerable depth. They’ve outscored opponents by 8.0 points per 100 possessions without Doncic.
Those non-Doncic lineups will be thrust into more difficult situations now. That net rating will likely drop, especially against a tough upcoming schedule. Dallas might have been in line for some losses, even with Doncic. So, don’t overreact to that.
But the Mavericks can remain at least competitive without their best player.
The Milwaukee Bucks keep right on rolling, they won their 18th straight on Saturday night, cruising past the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now they’re going to have to keep this winning streak going without point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Bledsoe will miss at least two weeks with a right fibula avulsion fracture, the team announced Saturday. The injury happened Friday night in a win against Memphis.
An avulsion fracture is where a strain to ligament pulls a little bit of bone off where the two connect. It sounds worse than it is medically, and while it hurts rest is usually the only treatment needed.
Bledsoe is averaging 15 points and 5.7 assists per game for the Bucks, shooting 34.4 percent from three, playing solid defense, and providing another ball handler and shot creator next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee has been +4.1 points per 100 possessions this season with Bledsoe on the court.
George Hill, who has had a strong season for Milwaukee off the bench, will step into the starting role for now.
The injury comes at a rough time as the Buck hit a tougher part of the schedule this week, facing Dallas (which may be without Luka Doncic) and the Lakers on Thursday.