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Raptors Power Ranking Poll Week 10: No rest for Kyle Lowry

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The Raptors have been playing some weaker teams, sure, but without a chunk of their rotation, it’ll fall to Kyle Lowry to keep them afloat. So far, so good.

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Right in the midst of this column coming together — look, it’s been a busy day — it was announced that Toronto’s Kyle Lowry had been named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week. This is a small thing, but it describes exactly how the Raptors just had a 4-0 week despite a continuing onslaught of injuries.

At the start of the week, Fred VanVleet was out, then in one fell swoop, the team lost Marc Gasol, Norman Powell, and Pascal Siakam. Meanwhile, the Raptors’ bench unit has been hit with a bit of pain too — there’s been no Matt Thomas or Stanley Johnson for weeks at a time, right after Patrick McCaw finally made it back to good health. Not even Dewan Hernandez, lightly used in the NBA, has been able to stay healthy.

And while Lowry himself has missed a run of games, it’s been his consistent and continued excellence that has guided the Raptors through this latest stretch. You can re-read the Player of the Week post here if you don’t believe me. When Lowry is cooking, look out.

Now let’s see if this week’s Power Ranking People have the same things to say.

Has ESPN changed its tune as of late? Let’s see what wisdon Andre’ Snellings has for us:

6. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 7)

The Raptors are beset by injuries, with Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell out indefinitely. So what? Toronto has won five straight, with none more thrilling than the franchise-best 30-point comeback win Sunday over the Mavericks. Moving forward, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet will be relied upon even more to provide offense from the backcourt; they are averaging a combined 37.8 points as the team’s second- and third-leading scorers.

Snellings talent for understatement remains unmatched. So what indeed!

Next up, what kind of trouble does Zach Harper of the Athletic get up to this week?

9. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 9)

The Raptors are physically falling apart. Fred VanVleet just came back from injury this weekend and looked pretty good. But as he comes back into the fold for Nick Nurse, they’ve lost Marc Gasol to a hamstring injury, Pascal Siakam to a groin injury, and Norman Powell to a shoulder injury. The shoulder injury is concerning because it’s the same shoulder he hurt a year ago. The Raptors have been as resilient as any team this season. They’ve withstood the loss of Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green while still managing to thrive on the court. They’ve had guys in and out of the lineup all season long, and they’ve been buoyed by the depth. At some point, it has to be too much though, right?

The loss of Siakam and Gasol right now could be doom. It’s one thing to lose one of those guys, but two at the same time is going to be really hard for them to replace. Serge Ibaka, who has also battled injuries this season, becomes the guy they need to step up for 30-35 minutes every night. Still, with all that said, the Raptors are still taking care of the soft part of their schedule this past week or so. Things get a lot tougher over the next two weeks, so hopefully Gasol and Siakam can get healthy soon.

(Author’s note: I’ll fully admit I wrote this before their ridiculous 30-point comeback against Dallas on Sunday. I still stand by everything I wrote because I’m concerned about the Raptors’ health in the short-term. But holy hell was that comeback impressive, random, and ridiculous.)

Kudos to Harper for making sure to include that italicized author’s note at the end there. Pre-writing anything these days can be a huge gamble — case in point: my own game story last night getting completely upended — so when things go wrong, it’s good to just own up to it. Still, it’s hard not to laugh at the Mavericks ranked 4th for the week. (We need to laugh, because acknowledging the toll all these injuries are taking is in and of itself quite painful.)

Yes, of course, the doctor is in. Let’s see what Dr. John Schuhmann has for us:

9. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 10)

The Raptors remain the only team that hasn’t lost (they’re 18-0) after leading by double-digits, because (after leading by 12 points in the first quarter) they came back from a 30-point deficit against Dallas on Sunday, 10 years (almost to the day) since the last time a team won a regular-season game it trailed by 30 or more. Nick Nurse pulled a full-court press out of his bag of tricks and Kyle Lowry put together a 20-point fourth quarter before assisting Chris Boucher on the game-deciding bucket. Most amazing is that the champs pulled off that miracle four days after losing three of their top seven guys to injury in a win over the Pistons. Serge Ibaka stepped up with 43 points and 23 rebounds against Detroit and Washington before assisting Patrick McCaw on the go-ahead bucket on Friday. The win over Dallas was the first of five straight games against teams with winning records, and given how shorthanded the Raptors are, it’s not an ideal time for their first two games against the Celtics.

I love that the game Schuhmann mentions there, the comeback from ten years ago, features two of Raptors’ fans least favourite teams: the Kings and the Bulls. That’s some beautiful cosmic justice right there — somehow.

And finally, did CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger pre-write everything or nah?

4. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 5)

The Raptors continue to confound logic, winning four games this week despite injuries to Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol. Should they have fallen behind by 30 to the Mavericks without Luka Doncic? Probably not. Was it fun to watch them storm back with Malcolm Miller, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Chris Boucher on the court? Absolutely. Nick Nurse is looking like the Coach of the Year front-runner at this point.

CWH is a master of the form, and I, for one, 100 percent believe he wrote all these words today at some point, ready to go like a man in a gunfight. And truth be told: it is indeed inspiring to watch Miller, Rondae, and Boucher live their best lives on the court thanks to one, Kyle Lowry.

Now, onto the poll.

Poll

Are the Raptors being ranked fairly in Week 10 of the Power Rankings?

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    No, I’m the guy at the card table in the Western who is just looking for a reason to be mad
    (28 votes)
  • 31%
    Yes, I’m the erstwhile lawman drawn into conflict over here
    (36 votes)
  • 20%
    No, definitely the town drunk
    (23 votes)
  • 23%
    Yes, I’m the wingman who also doubles as the comic relief who may or may not get killed
    (27 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now