The Brooklyn Nets may seem like an undermanned team, without Kyrie Irving and Caris LaVery (and Kevin Durant of course), but, like they did last year, the guys who are on the floor for Kenny Atkinson play hard and play a smart, efficient style. Fortunately, they still kinda suck at shooting, so even though the Toronto Raptors gave up too many threes last night, Brooklyn’s 12-for-46 night from downtown pretty much did them in.
Let’s run through some quick thoughts following the 110-102 win:
The Return of Classic Kyle
Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam (and maybe Marc Gasol?) are gonna get most of the shine from this one, but I loved the way Kyle Lowry played last night. It was a classic Lowry performance — sure, he scored 17 points, but he did all kinds of little things that you probably won’t see in the boxscore, like the hockey assist on Patrick McCaw’s lone basket, or diving into the backcourt to save a ball, or using his generous behind to push Jarrett Allen away from a rebound. All in all it just felt like the game was in his hands every minute he was out there.
That’s the Lowry we all know and love, and that’s really the first time we’ve seen it since he’s come back from injury. KLOE, forever.
So, the McCaw Minutes
Patrick McCaw played 28.5 minutes last night, the most he’s ever played in a Raptors uniform. Some of that was due to foul trouble (both Norman Powell and OG Anunoby had three early), some of it was due to injury (Fred VanVleet did not play), and some of it was due to ineffectivenes of other bench players (namely, Terence Davis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson). But man, that’s a lot of McCaw minutes.
Most perplexing, was that McCaw played the final eight minutes of the game, with OG Anunoby on the bench. It might not have been Anunoby’s finest night (the aforementioned fouls, plus he was 2-for-7 from the floor) but I think OG would have to be playing on crutches for McCaw to be considered a better option than him. (McCaw was 1-for-7, incidentally.)
Then again, the Raptors won, and Nick Nurse clearly knows what he’s doing, so I can’t question him too much. But man, I just don’t see it with McCaw.
The Gasol Staredown
While the game action itself was mostly forgettable, last night brought us a few things that will linger in my mind for a long, long time. First up: The Marc Gasol face.
After being called for a foul, Marc brandished this look at official James Williams:
I nearly died of laughter. Williams laughed it off, too, clearly appreciating the humour of the situation. You have to love the characters on this team!
Speaking of characters...
A Jack Armstrong Performance for the Ages
Usually a classic Jack Armstrong performance means he was singing, or perhaps there was a beer mishap on the floor. But last night’s was all about... the telephone?
Early in the night, Jack admitted to (finally?) getting rid of his landline, and offhandedly mentioned the repeated calls he was getting about duct cleaning.
TELL ME ABOUT IT JACK.
Matt Devlin felt Jack’s pain too, and the two went on with this bit for the entire night, and I think they had all of Canada behind them.
Matt even got in on the fun on Twitter:
And hey, if you wanna hear Jack singing, maybe all you need to do is hang out at Sobey’s:
From the “Never Seen that Before!” Dept.”
NBA seasons are long, as we all know, and as I’ve mentioned before, part of what makes them enjoyable is that every once in a while, you see something new. Last night we got two of those things!
First, as the second half opened, Matt and Jack noticed their view of the court being blocked by a ball rack, left courtside after halftime shootaround! Officials stopped the play and the cart was removed, no big deal obviously, but definitely something I haven’t seen before.
And then, before the fourth quarter could start, the basket at one end was found to be crooked! Officials and players helped the ground crew straighten it out and play resumed, but sheesh, not a great night for Scotiabank Arena ops! But great night for “huh, never seen that one before” crowd.
Anywho, the Raps won, they’re a very good 17-8, and they face a very bad Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. Let’s go winning streak!