Archive for the ‘John Lucas III’ Category

You thought you had seen everything already with this Raptors team, didn’t you?. Injuries, multiple blown double digit leads in the fourth quarter, triple-overtime losses, etc. Well how about an upset of the Pacers in Indiana despite scoring a franchise low five points in the fourth quarter a night after that aforementioned triple-overtime loss? It makes little sense, but we’ll take it.

Now here are some thoughts on the game:

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The Thunder were running away with the ball game by the middle of the second quarter, and Kyle Lowry left the game with what looked like a pretty serious ankle injury. Not exactly a good night at the office for the Raptors.

Here are some thoughts on the game:

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Start Time: 6:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2 (also the 2nd of the 3 straight games on NBA TV in the US)

Probable Starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Minnesota: Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Nikola Pekovic

Injury report
Toronto: No injuries to report.
Minnesota: Kevin Love – out until December with a broken hand. Ricky Rubio – out since March with torn ACL.


Pre-game thoughts:

- It will be interesting to see who spends the majority of the game guarding Nikola Pekovic. The Raps were exposed by Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez in the first two games of the season and Pek is probably more of load on the block than either of those guys. Valanciunas may not be the best post defender on the team yet, but it’s only a matter of time until he is. I would like to see that process sped up and I would have no problem seeing him develop with playing time at the expense of winning one or two games.

-Matchup of x-factors – JJ Barea vs John Lucas III. Very similar players, as  neither scoring guard stands taller than six feet. Last season, Barea had a true shooting % of 50, while Lucas was just below him at 49%. Barea will be playing a lot of minutes until Ricky Rubio returns and Coach Casey may increase Lucas’ minutes to matchup. Barea started the season strongly with a team-leading 21 points in their opener against the Kings.

-The T-Wolves have lost 14 of their last 15 trips to Toronto and 8 straight – for whatever that’s worth as these two rosters had a lot of turnover in the off-season. Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy now give the Wolves their best wing tandem since  the days of Latrell Sprewell and Wally World.

-Look for Kyle Lowry’s hot start to continue against the defensively challenged Luke Ridnour. Lowry is a beast when he puts his head down and drives to the rim and his 3-pt shot has looked very consistent through two games. As per @checktheticker, Lowry was the first Raps player since Mike James in 2006, to record 28 pts, 8 reb & 8 ast in a game. He has also amassed 8 steals in two games. Although his steals are often a result of sagging off his man, Lowry has rarely been burned by leaving his check.

I don’t know how many other fanbases in the NBA could actually get people to watch an intrasquad scrimmage via online stream, but if you checked twitter on Sunday afternoon, you’ll know plenty of Raptors fans were doing just that, in addition to those in attendance for the exhibition event at Casino Rama.

Other than some corny music and what usually looked like scenes from an equally corny high school basketball movie, what you likely observed during the scrimmage was Jose Calderon leaving the game with an apparent thigh or knee injury after getting tangled with Andrea Bargnani.

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Raptors 120, Grizzlies 106

Like a lot of pre-season games over the last couple of nights, Friday’s Raptors/Grizzlies contest wasn’t televised in either team’s city, and the only way you could actually follow this game live outside of being there was on Memphis radio, so it’s kind of like a Raptors fan’s equivalent of the whole “if a tree falls in the forest with no one around” shtick.

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