The headline I’ve put for this article says it all. The Raptors are good. We were worried about Kyle Lowry, and after last week’s mailbag, the Raptors lost to the Nets and the Bucks that weekend. But one Friday later and the Raptors — and Raps fans — are living a high life: A West coast back-to-back against the Clippers and Warriors without Kawhi Leonard? No problem. Two big wins. Let’s take a look at this week in questions — reactionary ones, to say the least.
Why does Lowry suck now— lauren (@lauren_sil) December 12, 2018
Simply put, he doesn’t.
But I guess I know why this came about: Kyle had a couple of super-stinkers last week. He was invisible against the Nets, and put up zero against the Bucks. Sure, he finds other ways to contribute, but the shot wasn’t falling, he may have looked hurt, and teams were treating him like a non-shooter and that affected the spacing.
But in two massive efforts against the Clippers and Warriors, he looked “back.” He combined for 44 points and 19 assists over the two games, thoroughly outplayed his point guard counterpart Stephen Curry on Wednesday, and, let’s just say, he was having some kind of fun. It was a sight to behold.
But if we go look at why this happened the way it happened, I think there are still some kinks being worked out. Note that I’m happy to say that all regular season long — it’s still early enough that it’s okay.
But Kawhi and Kyle are still seemingly figuring out the offense: Assist totals went up over these past two games without Leonard on the floor. The team is better with Kawhi, but the offence is still figuring out flow. If the ball’s zipping, moving across the court, both stand to benefit, but it takes a level of comfort for them playing together to get to that point.
They’ve each looked MVP-level at points this season, and it’s only going to get better from here, I think.
@61gabester My prediction for the next seven days is that the Raptors will not win a game including the one they are about to lose tonight against the hapless Nets, your comments after the fact please (love the word hapless) @RaptorsHQ #HQMailbag— Mitch Engel Law (@CrimLawEngel) December 8, 2018
I could just let this sit here. But I won’t. Do I like the word hapless? Maybe. Would I rather the New York Yankees be Happ-less? Probably.
When this tweet came in, the Nets were in good position to win Friday, and they’re not that hapless. Not a bold prediction.
The Bucks are a very, very good basketball team. Okay, I’ll give that to you.
The Clippers and Warriors on a back-to-back? At least one was a schedule loss. Until it wasn’t.
I didn’t really want to reveal that I know Mitch, but I got this text on Wednesday morning and it was too good not to share.
Was he rooting for the Raptors to lose? When you bet on something like this last Friday and hope that your prediction is gold by this Friday (a.k.a today), you do some wild things. But the Raptors won. And they won twice. They beat the Clippers without Kawhi. They beat the Golden State Warriors without Kawhi.
And going into this week of mailbag questions, I can see why people would have thought some wild things. Lowry had some stinkers, the team was hanging tough in games they had no business hanging tough in and now they were playing some really good basketball teams instead of not-so-good ones.
But the Toronto Raptors are good. Kyle Lowry over everything. Kawhi Leonard’s a Toronto Raptor. It only takes 48 minutes of basketball to flip the dejection switch off. Basketball can make us feel bad; sometimes, dare I say, it’s laborious to watch. But when things are rolling? Like Tuesday? Like Wednesday? Feed it to me. Feed all of it to me.