Happy Kyle Lowry Weekend.
A lot of words have been typed and uttered getting ready for tomorrow night when No. 7 returns to the scene of his greatest triumphs for the first time in more than two years.
“I would hope so,” Fred said last night when he was asked if it’d be fun playing against Lowry for the first time.
It’s going to be emotional – maybe a bit too emotional, I might think – but it’s also going to be a special moment and can’t wait to let it soak in.
Until then, though, the Raptors really are rolling and last night’s win – a few minutes to start the fourth quarter notwithstanding – was a solid effort start to finish.
Here’s a last look at it before we inundate you with more Lowry stuff.
They seem ready
The codicil being there are five games left and there could absolutely be a blip or two that comes up that will undoubtedly cause some angst among the fan base.
But the fact, as Fred VanVleet told us after the game and what I tried to explain a bit in one of last night’s stories, the Raptors are rolling as well as they have at any time this season.
“I think over the last couple of weeks, we’ve just been really locked into the game plans and that our attention to detail has been great,” he said. “So that’s one thing you look for, especially with a young team, is how you can convert from walkthrough and shootarounds and practices to the game.”
It’s been really good the last little while and that’s a big confidence boost going into the playoffs, which now likely won’t start until at least two weeks from today.
“We come up with a plan — no plan is perfect, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re bad — but as long as we’re all on the same page, we go out there, we give ourselves a chance , and, and we stick together and we play together. I think that’s something that can go a long way for a young team,” Fred added.
Not a great look
The all-big lineup that Raptors trotted out in the second quarter of Achiuwa, Birch, Young, Siakam and OG wasn’t great by any means, and the crew that started the fourth quarter of Achiuwa, Young, Boucher, Siakam and Trent wasn ‘t any better as Nick pointed out.
“Tried to let ’em play through it, the biggest thing is they just didn’t get any stops. They gave up 12 points in three minutes, just bucket after bucket after bucket, but offense wasn’t helping them either. They were putting themselves in a tough situation down at the other end, that probably was the uncomfortableness they were feeling was translating to the defensive end.”
But it really wasn’t that big a deal for one night; it’s not like the backups have been below average for weeks.
One of those nights for them, which is going to happen.
“I didn’t think any of the lineups with considerable guys off the bench were very effective tonight just for whatever reason,” he said. “They were just a little unorganized – I’m always talking about trying to help ’em get organized and it just didn’t feel like it was flowing very good for those guys.
Have to go back to the drawing board on that a little bit.”
Nick’s not a guy who does a ton of long-term planning for game circumstances because they are impossible to predict; rolling with the punches always makes more sense.
So last night’s somewhat experimental look at lineups wasn’t any part of a grand plan to some eventuality that may pop up in the post-season.
It was doing what it took to win one specific game.
“I’m usually going into the night trying to coach the game that’s in front of us,” was how he put it. “And, you also know, that if you come in off the bench and you get in a good rhythm and playing well you could have a long extended run. Just wasn’t the case tonight.
“So I think they probably got a lot more minutes together out of necessity for tonight’s ballgame than any prior planning or future planning.”
All right, I’m going to spend a bit of time this afternoon finally getting a chance to see about the team with the best record in the G League and it seems a full house awaits at the 905 game today.
But there’s likely to be time after on a stool or even before if you get your acts together so I can get started on Ye Olde Mailbag and not have to be up at 7 am tomorrow to finish it off.
So click on email@example.com now and do what you do, okay?
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