Raptors at Nets Points Per Game Jay-Z Edition: Lowry, what more can I say? JV 99 Problems but a KG ain’t one; Patterson a Threat

- January 28th, 2014

BROOKLYN — Usually the end of January is a dull time in the NBA world. The players hit a bit of a wall, the games aren’t particularly important and the quality suffers. That hasn’t been the case where Toronto is concerned. January has been one of the most exciting periods in years, filled with thrilling games and stunning individual performances.

- Kyle Lowry’s had a few of those and added another one Monday. He was a force from the start, doing everything for the Raptors except protect the rim (and he even tried that, attempting to take a charge or two under the hoop). Without DeMar DeRozan, the Raptors still pulled out the game because of a team effort, with Lowry putting them over the top.

-The ESPN report created a lot of chatter about Lowry’s future, but nothing has changed. The team would trade anyone for the right offer, but the odds of Lowry moving are miniscule. He’s playing like a top 8-10 point guard in a league filled with brilliant floor generals. You can’t move that without getting a ton back and the market isn’t there to get that kind of a return.

-Lowry will be asking for big money ($12 million a season?) but there aren’t a lot of landing spots for him. Maybe the Lakers, depending on what happens with Steve Nash. A sign-and-trade, or he’d have to take the mid-level exception, which is far less than the Raptors could pay him. This is merely a guess, but coming back to Toronto for about $9.5 million a season looks like the most realistic scenario for all involved.

  • It wasn’t just Lowry. Jonas Valanciunas was excellent. Going mano-a-mano with Kevin Garnett, Valanciunas was the best big man in this contest. He altered shots, dominated on the boards and even chipped in with a rare 20+ point game. He even yelled at Garnett following a big dunk. What did he say? “Tonight I didn’t understand english, that was my key,” Valanciunas said of talking trash with KG. “He doesn’t know Lithuanian, I didn’t know english that time.” Dwane Casey chuckled at the incident, but also said he’d prefer if his excitable sophomore would bust his behind to get back on defence instead of yapping. “All that jumping up and down doesn’t mean anything if he doesn’t get back on defence,” Casey said.
  • Lowry is not one to hide his emotions. He was (justifiably) furious after another bad call went against him and was lucky not to get called for another technical after glaring at the refs (with a few words) and then booting the scorer’s table. But Casey credited him with keeping his composure during game action.
  • Patrick Patterson proved he’s a warrior, not only playing with a broken nose, but taking off his mask because he couldn’t see the rim properly on his shots. Everyone’s pain tolerance is different, but one has to wonder whether Tyler Hansbrough’s continued absence, contrasted by what others have played through, causes any internal rumblings. Patterson shot an air ball at a most inopportune time, but was able to keep with it and make a great fake, before hitting the game winner following his stunning steal.
  • Speaking of great fakes, Greivis Vasquez made a pretty one earlier in the fourth, producing a layup when everyone thought he was passing.
  • The Raptors have run some good stuff out of timeouts lately and also were well-prepared for Brooklyn’s late-game thinking. Patterson knew what to expect and perfectly timed his interception.
  • There were 20 lead changes and past versions of the Raptors likely would have lost the game, but this group seems quite different. The “Raptors panic” that has been a staple of this franchise seems to have taken off. Confidence has arrived in its place, along with composure and clutch finishing.

Casey on whether that was a statement game:

“No, it’s not. It’s too early for statement games. It was a division game, our guys fought, scrapped, won the game,” he said. “We’ve just got to keep our nose to the grind because the NBA is very fickle and if you don’t respect it, if you don’t stay with the grind it’ll turn around and bite you in the you know what. So we’ve got to stay poised, stay with the process.

Patterson on why Toronto has been so good since he and the other three former Kings joined the group:
“It’s just all about toughness, our resiliency. No matter who is not playing, the guys on this team, we step up every single night and we put our hearts on the line. We play extremely tough, we play extremely hard, and we represent for Toronto. We do what’s necessary to win games. That’s the coaching staff, we believe in ourselves, our teammates that are out, they believe in us even though we’re not out their with us. It just shows our resiliency.”

Asked if he was surprised they keep rolling, Patterson responded quickly:

“Somewhat At the beginning I was. But now, the vibe we have in the locker room, the relationships we have in the locker room, it feels like we’ve been together, five, 10 years. It feels like we’ve know each other for a real long time and when we’re on the court it shows. We’re passing, we’re moving the ball. We believe this is who we are, we’re buying in to the coaching staff.”

 Lowry on Valanciunas:

“He’s just growing. He’s young but he’s growing. He’s going to be a good player, he’s learning every single day and to play like that against a hall of famer it just shows how good he’s getting.”

“It was a team effort. I mean, everybody contributed, everybody that touched the floor, even the guys that didn’t touch the floor contributed with their enthusiasm on the bench. We’re just a complete team and we’re all out here just having fun and trying to win games.”

 

 

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