In honour of Kyle Lowry's player of the week win, and of the team's continued success this month despite resting players and injuries to key players like Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson and James Johnson, I thought we'd just take a quick look at Lowry and DeMar DeRozan's month so far.
Because although others have stepped up to fill the gaps, like Bismack Biyombo playing himself out of the Raptors' price range (we'll take a close look at him in another piece), and Norman Powell proving he is ready to play right now (probably look at him too), it's been the Raptors' two stars playing out of their minds that has kept the team winning above all.
DeMar's March has been really impressive.
The line: 27.6 points per game, on 46% from the floor and getting to the line for an astounding 12 FTA's per game, converting on an incredible 87% of them.
That's the highest points per game month of his season (and of his career).
He's averaging 5.3 rebounds per game as well, also the best month of the season for him.
His assists are down slightly from his season average of 4.0 at 3.4 per game, and his turnovers are up, but that is a sign of just how much offence DeRozan has needed to carry with, at various points, JV, Lowry, Patterson, Joseph, Carroll, Scola and Johnson out of the lineup. His 33% usage should show you how much he's had to carry.
In the meantime, his TS% is higher than it's been in any month this year (57.8%) and his on-court net rating of +6.7 is a big step up from his season long +2.7. All of this is built on DeRozan taking his greatest strength (his drive game) and turning it up to 11 -- he leads the league in drives with 12 per game on the season. In March, he's driving almost 14 times per game, nearly two more times per game than any other player in the league this month.
Kyle's March has been pretty great too.
24.6 points per game, on 47% from the floor and 42% from three. And he's taking a page from DeMar's book and also getting to the line for 9.5 FTA's per game.
That's the highest points per game month of his season.
He's averaging 5.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists as well, right in line with his season averages, which is impressive with that jump up in scoring.
In the meantime, his TS% is up at 62.7%, a crazy number that dips below last month's (64%) and is still more impressive with the additional offensive load he's carried (usage is up to 27.9% this month from last month's 24.6%). His on-court net rating of +11.1 is incredible, even for a guy who has posted a pretty great +6.6 net rating all season.
The Raptors' two All-Stars are stepping up when their team has needed it. This is a very good sign for the playoffs, when the Raptors can hopefully keep them surrounded with a multitude of options after the expected returns of Valanciunas and DeMarre Carroll. If these two can play like this without their two top alternative offensive options, imagine what they could do with them there.
All stats per NBA.com and basketball-reference.com.