The Raptors will take the court tonight (in 30 minutes!) in their throwback Toronto Huskies jerseys. For those who don't know, the first NBA game was actually held between the Huskies and Knicks 70 years ago on November 1st. It was a 68-66 affair, which, if you know your early NBA history (e.g. no shot clock) is a pretty impressive score. To watch today's Knicks, for example, is to marvel at how far we've come. OK, uh, maybe not that far.
I joke because, well, the Knicks are a goofily terrible team. They've got Kristaps Porzingis, so clearly the future of the franchise, but he's saddled with Carmelo Anthony (still an effective player), Derrick Rose (something of a shitheel now), and Joakim Noah (for which a Viking funeral was held at least two years ago). But Mike Breen and Walter "Clyde" Frazier are in the building -- the latter in the crispest black and gold plaid pants I've ever seen -- so that's something.
For the Raptors, the whole crew is back. Jonas Valanciunas played last night in Charlotte -- a stirring 113-111 victory -- as did Terrence Ross. In fact, the Raptors squad, playing without Jared Sullinger mind you, looks damn fulsome right now. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (who, uh, may or may not both be in the top 10 in minutes per game -- again) are playing some damn fine ball. DeRozan is on a historic run, and Lowry is basically driving the team in every way.
While the three ball is coming and going, Toronto has still found something in the last couple of games from DeMarre Carroll, Patrick Patterson and Ross. And Cory Joseph is manning things as he usually does. The Raps have Norman Powell around just in case one of those guys isn't doing well. It's quite a position. And look at that, a late breaking update:
ALERT: Norm Powell starting in place of DeMarre Carroll tonight.— Daniel Reynolds (@aka_Reynolds) November 12, 2016
(It sounds like the team is just resting DC on the second night of a back-to-back. So, moving on.)
Spirits are so high, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star asked Dwane Casey if he felt like he was leading the mid-90s Bulls... in that the team has three centres they can roll out depending on the matchups. (He was quick to add this, as Casey's eyebrows went up.) That's right, with JV, the resurgent Lucas Nogueira, and the fast-learning Jakob Poeltl, even the front court is feeling well.
So yeah, bring on the Triangle-playing Knicks. I don't envy them.
Retroooo pic.twitter.com/SyyoeUVANN— Daniel Reynolds (@aka_Reynolds) November 12, 2016