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Sports How Lowry and Siakam represent Raptors’ path to respectability

22:10  16 february  2020
22:10  16 february  2020 Source:   sportsnet.ca

Norman Powell injury update: Toronto Raptors guard out indefinitely with broken hand

  Norman Powell injury update: Toronto Raptors guard out indefinitely with broken hand Norman Powell was having a career year before suffering the injury Friday night.Powell suffered the injury, a fracture of the fourth metacarpal of the left hand, during the fourth quarter of Friday night's game against the Detroit Pistons.

a man holding a basketball: raptors-siakam-lowry© Provided by Sportsnet raptors-siakam-lowry

The Toronto Raptors non-star all-stars will get their chance to shine tonight in Chicago, and it’s kind of perfect.

With Pascal Siakam starting, Kyle Lowry coming off the bench and Nick Nurse and his staff coaching Team Giannis against Team LeBron at the NBA’s mid-season all-star showcase, the basketball world will get a proper representation of the league’s least twinkly franchise.

“It feels good having two players at the All-Star Game and our coaches together,” said Siakam before heading off for Chicago. “I think, for us, being in Toronto, it’s always good that those national things, we can have some type of recognition and have, kind of like, people representing us. It’s great, and it’s definitely going to be a fun weekend. It makes it more enjoyable seeing familiar faces and being around people that you are with every day.”

Raptors forward Pascal Siakam to compete in skills challenge at all-star weekend

  Raptors forward Pascal Siakam to compete in skills challenge at all-star weekend Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam was named a participant in the skills challenge on Tuesday for the upcoming NBA all-star weekend. Siakam is the third player in franchise history to compete in the event, joining DeMar DeRozan (2014) and Kyle Lowry (2015). He's averaging career highs of 23.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 34.8 minutes in 39 games this season. Siakam has scored 20 or more points in 24 games, including 12 30-point performances, and has recorded 10 double-doubles.He's also been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice — for games played Nov. 4-10 and Jan. 20-26.

After 25 years the NBA’s only non-American franchise has finally won its decades-long fight for respect from the greater basketball universe in the most sensible way possible: they simply don’t care what everyone thinks.

If they get it? Hey great, it makes for a fun weekend. But there’s no neediness there.

The Raptors need to win and they do plenty of that.

But as a group, external validation isn’t really their thing. They have championship rings they can look to if they need a reminder of how far they’ve come.

This is a franchise that won an NBA title without a single lottery pick on their roster – the first time in league history. This season of their top-seven rotation players by WinShares (including oft-injured Marc Gasol who was a second-round pick) they have five players who were drafted. Four were first-round picks, though no higher than OG Anunoby, taken 23rd in the 2017 draft. Norm Powell was a second-round pick and Terence Davis and Fred VanVleet were undrafted.

Raptors stretch winning streak to record 12 with thrilling victory over Pacers

  Raptors stretch winning streak to record 12 with thrilling victory over Pacers TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors made history on Wednesday — but it certainly didn't come easy. Kyle Lowry poured in 32 points and Serge Ibaka added 30 points, including a huge three-pointer in the dying seconds, and the Raptors overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-118 for a franchise-record 12th consecutive victory. Pascal Siakam had 25 points, while Terence Davis had 11 and Fred VanVleet chipped in with 10 for Toronto (37-14).Malcolm Brogdon scored 24 points to lead the Pacers (31-20), while Domantas Sabonis had 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.With history on the line, the game and the Scotiabank Arena crowd had a post-season feeling.

They are coached by Nurse who had 25 years of coaching experience — most of it in lower-run minor leagues — before getting his first NBA bench in 2018-19. He enters All-Star weekend trailing only Steve Kerr (.718 vs. .715) for the best regular-season winning percentage in NBA history. In all likelihood, Nurse will finish the season in the top spot. His two seasons don’t represent the body of work of Phil Jackson (20 seasons at .704) or Gregg Popovich (with 24 and counting at .677) but they aren’t nothing either.

While Kawhi Leonard is often cited as the reason the Raptors won their title, Toronto is now 57-20 without Leonard in their lineup over two seasons, which translates to a 61-win regular-season pace.

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The star-studded Clippers, where Leonard jumped in free agency, are on pace for 55 wins this year.

Takeaways: Raptors get needed break after streak-ending loss to Nets

  Takeaways: Raptors get needed break after streak-ending loss to Nets The performance the Toronto Raptors turned in Wednesday night in Brooklyn was uninspiring to say the least. The post Raptors’ win streak snapped in loss to Nets appeared first on Sportsnet.ca.The Toronto Raptors saw their 15-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night after they fell to the Brooklyn Nets 101-91 Wednesday night at Barclays Center.

All of which to say is there is something pleasing and symmetrical about Siakam and Lowry standing for the Raptors in Chicago.

Even their stories — as divergent as they are — help represent the non-traditional route the NBA’s lone Canadian franchise has taken to a championship and respectability.

Lowry is the Raptors’ undisputed leader. He was taken 24th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft after having his freshman season at Villanova nearly ruined by an ACL tear. As an NBA rookie, he broke his wrist in his 10th game and required season-ending surgery. It took him nine seasons to make his first all-star team and hasn’t failed to make one since, appearing in six straight.

Lowry can be tough on teammates unless they earn his respect, but it’s no surprise that Siakam got Lowry’s attention early.

When Siakam was voted in as an All-Star starter, continuing his meteoric rise from being taken 27th overall in the 2016 draft and earning his Most Improved Player award last year in his third season, no one was happier for him than Lowry.

“It means the world for me,” Lowry told reporters at the media availability in Chicago. “Honestly, it means the world to me to have him here. I was so happy for him. It was so important for me to see him be here. I was so happy for our coaching staff and for Pascal to just be able to have the season he’s had and kind of build off of what he did last year, Most Improved and winning the championship. So it was very special.”

Warren, Turner lead Pacers to overtime home win over Raptors

  Warren, Turner lead Pacers to overtime home win over Raptors INDIANAPOLIS — T.J. Warren and Myles Turner scored 24 points apiece, Aaron Holiday sank two 3-pointers late and the host Indiana Pacers outlasted the Toronto Raptors 120-115 in overtime on Monday night. Holiday, who started at point guard for the injured Malcolm Brogdon, hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 116-113 lead with 2:05 remaining in overtime. Then he drained another for a 119-115 advantage with 54 seconds remaining. Holiday finishedHoliday, who started at point guard for the injured Malcolm Brogdon, hit a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 116-113 lead with 2:05 remaining in overtime. Then he drained another for a 119-115 advantage with 54 seconds remaining.

Lowry’s and Siakam’s paths have been different, but it didn’t take them long to find common ground.

The Raptors point guard started playing basketball as a six-year-old in rough-and-tumble North Philadelphia, and all the accumulated knowledge and passion is on display every time he takes the floor. It’s what has made him a star even though he’s barely six-feet tall and hasn’t dunked since his second NBA season.

Siakam didn’t start playing hoops until he was 16 and not seriously until he left Cameroon to try his luck in the United States as a 17-year-old.

He’s become a star thanks to his rangy athleticism at six-foot-nine combined with dazzling, soccer-inspired footwork and a soft touch around the basket.

He’s had to learn the game on the fly and counts Lowry as a mentor.

“Coming in, he’s always been the kind of guy to talk to you and reach out and have dinners. He takes you in and it’s great to have vets like that to look at,” said Siakam. “I’m definitely fortunate to have had a guy like that in my rookie year to connect like we did. Just having him as a big brother you can go to for information. No matter what it is, I know I can send him a text and he’ll have something for me, like advice.”

For Lowry, connecting with Siakam has provided its own rewards. Siakam’s rapid progress from his rookie year when he shuttled between Toronto and Raptors 905 in the G-League to all-star status this season has helped keep the Raptors championship window open.

It helps that Siakam has been the perfect student — a sponge that can transfer new-found knowledge to action in an instant.

“When you [start to] play the game later, it’s a quick turnaround, a quick twitch,” says Lowry. “And I think that’s the one thing that he has, and I think that’s why he’s just going to continue to get better and better because he has the time to work and work and work. His body doesn’t have the all the natural talent and hard work that we’ve been as myself been playing since I was six. He’s still learning things as he is going … [but he has the] capacity to intake more and kind of put it together.”

Together Lowry and Siakam are the Raptors’ foundation pieces, an odd couple from with divergent backgrounds, different talents and skills but who have in common the determination to finds ways to maximize their ability and to find ways to win.

That they are both in Chicago is proof the Raptors’ road less travelled path to the NBA’s elite is headed in the right direction.

Raptors drop 99-96 loss to Charlotte, spoiling solid return of Norm Powell .
TORONTO — Terry Rozier scored 18 points and the game-clinching free throw with two seconds remaining to lift the Charlotte Hornets to a 97-96 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday, spoiling a solid return by Norm Powell. Powell return from a nine-game injury layoff to score 22 points. Pascall Siakam had 24 points and nine rebounds, while Kyle Lowry scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. OG Anunoby chipped in with 16 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors (42-17), who've lost two straight at Scotiabank Arena. Devonte' Graham also had 18 points for the Hornets (21-38).

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