Powell leads Raptors to 6th straight win, 90-83 over Magic
Norman Powell scored a career-best 33 points as the Toronto Raptors won their sixth straight game, beating the Orlando Magic 90-83 on Friday night. Powell was 7-for-9 shooting in the third quarter, including three 3-pointers.
What initially frightened thefanbase was the injuries to and . Both were staples on the team and the bench was dubious at best. Then, lo and behold, Toronto’s bench suddenly found their footing with both core players out and the Raptors ultimately started winning, too.
Now,and are back and the Raptors have dropped four of their last five, with the lone win coming in a one-point affair against the brutal . The team has looked out of sorts, discombobulated, and disconnected. On Wednesday, they were manhandled by and the , which sparked an idea.
Report: Raptors ‘said to have high interest’ in Cavaliers’ Thompson
The Toronto Raptors are “said to have high interest” in acquiring Canadian forward Tristan Thompson, Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amico is reporting. The post Should Frederik Andersen Play In Back-to-Back Games? appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.“On the trade front, the Cavs have not taken part in any serious discussions,” Amico wrote. “That is highly likely to change as the trade deadline nears in February. Opposing teams are expected to make serious runs at Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson, both players with expiring contracts. Toronto is said to have a high interest in Thompson, Philadelphia in Clarkson.
What if the Raptors took a page out of the Clippers’ playbook and started staggering some of their better players?
Notably, the Raptors were withoutfor the game against the Clippers while L.A. was at full-strength. Despite that, the Clippers boast a unique starting five wherein they do not actually start their best five players; they save and to come off the bench and use the tandem to extend leads and beat up on bench units.
It appears to be a good strategy for them. Yes, they have Kawhi andtoo, but the Clippers also have the second-best record in a competitive Western Conference. Could the Raptors employ a similar concept?
Who Would Be Switched?
First, we need to dissect who are the best candidates on the Raptors to have their minutes and spot in the rotation switched up. By all accounts,is performing better in the starting lineup. According to , his scoring is up to 16.4 points per game when he starts compared to 10.5 on the bench. Moreover, his shooting splits all increase when he starts: 48.8 percent from the field, 39.1 percent from deep and 85.7 percent from the foul line on starts against 44.8, 31.1 and 79.3 percent when he comes off the bench. Lastly, his offensive rating skyrockets when he starts to 113 points per 100 possessions compared to 98 points per 100 possessions. And, right now, he’s started roughly half of the games this season.
Raptors’ Lowry on Philly fans: ‘If they’ve got a problem, they can find me’
While some 76ers fans might not have forgotten about their 2019 post-season coming to an end at the hands of Kyle Lowry’s squad, count the Raptors veteran as unfazed by the chatter from his hometown crowd. The post Many reasons for Masai to stay in Toronto, one for him to join Knicks appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Fresh off an injury spell that kept him out for 11 games, the Philadelphia native returned home for his third game back in the lineup to take on the 76ers Sunday — an eventual 110-104 loss for his Raptors. He found himself on the receiving end of some heckles from the Philly crowd.
Logically, ifis inserted into the lineup then either or are going to have to swap out as the size of , , and are too important defensively.
This is where things get a little tricky.is a stalwart in the starting five and the heart of the Raptors. VanVleet, on the other hand, is proving himself with steady play, young, and is growing in popularity (we see you, Hubie Brown, with that Finals MVP vote!). Therefore, it comes down to who fits better with those starting five versus who fits better with the bench unit.
To figure this out, I usedto construct a table, which shows the net differential of various combinations:
So, what can we discern from this table?
We first need to note that this is a relatively small sample size in terms of possessions, especially for Lowry. Besides that, what truly stands out is Lowry’s lineup differentials withand without VanVleet, which stands at minus-7.0.
Report: MLSE chairman says Raptors’ Masai Ujiri ‘is here to stay’
MLSE part-owner and chairman Larry Tanenbaum says that he is not worried about other teams attempting to poach Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri and that the brains behind the club’s 2019 NBA championship is “here to stay.” The post Embiid leads 76ers past Denver to stay perfect at home appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.Tanenbaum reportedly told Traikos that there’s no reason to believe the 2013 NBA Executive of the Year won’t remain in Toronto once his contract expires after the 2020-21 season.
In the past, strictly by the eye test, Lowry and Ibaka seemed to hum on offense. We cannot forget the bread-and-butter pick-and-roll plays that often led to an open shot for Ibaka at the elbow. Yet in their limited time together this season, they have been performing subpar especially to their standards.
Meanwhile, VanVleet is performing relatively well with Ibaka and without Lowry for a solid plus-9.9. Granted, again, this is a very small sample size, but more fruitful than Lowry and Ibaka nonetheless. In general, VanVleet is performing well without Lowry on the floor, which makes some sense as they both do a lot of the same things for the team in similar ways (but Lowry has had to muscle his way back from injury).
Despite VanVleet seemingly serving better with a proposed starting lineup of, , , and , Fred could be a better player coming off the bench. This is sheerly based on the poor performance with Lowry and Ibaka together. As it stands, relegating Lowry to the bench to play with Ibaka would do a disservice to the Raptors’ veterans, which is exactly what they are attempting to solve. In an odd way, Lowry underperforming compared to VanVleet has helped his case to stay in the starting five.
Kawhi set to play vs. Raptors in return to Toronto
The Los Angeles Clippers released their injury report ahead of Wednesday's much-anticipated road game against the Toronto Raptors, and it appears superstar forward Kawhi Leonard is ready to go. Barring any late developments, Leonard will play in the Clippers' annual one-game pilgrimage north of the border, allowing former teammates and Raptors fans alike an opportunity to welcome back a player crucial to the 2019 championship run. The festivities will begin in earnest with a pregame ring ceremony for the reigning Finals MVP.Whether Leonard would actually play in his Toronto homecoming was a subject of speculation.
Essentially,should consider experimenting with Lowry, Powell, Anunoby, Siakam and as the starters with VanVleet and Ibaka being the first off of the bench.
Would This Actually Work?
There are a few flaws in the table above. Most importantly, a majority of it just shows two-player net differentials and NBA basketball is often times a five-on-five game (unless you’re thewhen feels like shooting it). VanVleet and Lowry have had a combination of minutes with bench players, but not strictly with the bench players. The experiment could ultimately backfire.
Yet, I’d argue that it’s a risk worth taking. Although a five-game slump isn’t terrible in the grand scheme of things, we saw how this team can perform at its peak, so it would disappointing if there weren’t attempts to get back on that pace. Plus, being on a good team is great for young player development — and Toronto does have a lot of guys who could continue to gain from that success in their pro careers.
To be honest, though, it would come as a surprise if Nurse made a change so suddenly. With Lowry and Ibaka only back for a few games apiece, he may be nervous to drastically change things and impede their steady comeback.
Still, if the tower continues to crumble, adjustments will need to be made. Before Masai Ujiri sells off large contracts at the trade deadline, let’s give these guys an opportunity to fix it on the court first.
Celtics snap Raptors' 34-game home win streak vs. Atlantic Division .
TORONTO - Jaylen Brown scored 30 points, Kemba Walker had 22 and the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 118-102 Wednesday in the first Christmas Day NBA game played in Canada. Enes Kanter had 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Celtics snapped an eight-game losing streak north of the border and became the first Atlantic Division opponent to win in Toronto in more than four years. Boston’s Gordon Hayward returned to the starting lineup after missing the past three games because of a sore left foot. He scored 14 points in 26 minutes.Fred VanVleet scored 27 points in the Raptors' second straight loss, and Chris Boucher had a career-high 24.