I was unable to catch last night’s game live due to a family emergency, one that kept me out of the loop until the wee hours of the morning. But I wouldn’t dare leave you, dear readers, in the lurch, without something to amuse yourselves with the morning after a game!
And so, I turn to a technique I pioneered back in the ancient days, before I brought this column over to RaptorsHQ, and that is to turn to the wisdom of Raptors Twitter — the only way I could follow the game last night — to bring you these five thoughts. Enjoy!
Welcome Back, Kyle
Could any tweet three minutes into the game bring a bigger smile to my face than this?
Kyle has his welcome back drawn charge— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) March 18, 2019
Kyle Lowry’s willingness to throw his body in front of opposing players after coming back from injury is unparalleled — and, maybe, in his later years, a trifle unwise. But then, he wouldn’t be Kyle Lowry if he wasn’t making plays like that.
Who Doesn’t Love a Good Platoon Sub?
One of my fave Twitter moments last night was discovering that David Fizdale went full “Indiana High School Coach in the 1950s” on the Knicks after they came out flat (...flatter?) in the third:
Fizdale hooks all five starters 65 seconds into the third quarter!— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) March 19, 2019
Yes! Give me all the hockey-style line changes!
Of course, this is the Knicks, so the results were... entirely predictable.
The Knicks have used 2 different 5-man units and still haven't scored 3 minutes into the 3rd— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) March 19, 2019
Tweet of the Night Battle: Who ya Got!?
I’m not sure what’s worse: seeing your most important get hurt, or experiencing it through the horrified reactions on Twitter. But, thankfully, shortly after Kyle Lowry’s heart-stopping injury, we received a Woj report that got the arteries back pumping again:
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is undergoing testing on right ankle injury that caused him to leave game, but belief is that it’s not serious, league sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 19, 2019
Which led to this Koreen gem:
*Kyle texts Woj from MRI machine*— (((Eric Koreen))) (@ekoreen) March 19, 2019
Technician: “You can’t bring that in the machine, Kyle!”
Lowry: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do. You’re not my coach, and I don’t listen to my coaches anyway!" https://t.co/l4hXcdt0xz
And this pearl from Wolfond:
raptors: *never leak*— Joe Wolfond (@joey_doubleyou) March 19, 2019
woj: what's up with lowry's ankle?
That’s some mighty fine Twittering! I’m giving the slight edge to Joey W because the Godfather is my all-time favourite movie, but this is a close race!
Either way, let’s be thankful that Lowry’s injury doesn’t sound too serious, and cross our fingers he’ll be back quickly.
What Was in VanVleet’s Diet During His Layoff!?
Fred VanVleet has been putting on a damn show these last two games. Do ya think this guy missed playing ball?
hello fred vanvleet has six assists in eight minutes, he looks great and it's really great to have him back. #great— Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) March 19, 2019
What could be the source of these powers...?
/trying to dislocate my own thumb for super powers also— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) March 19, 2019
Ah. Well I’m not signing up for any thumb-breaking, but given how well Jonas Valanciunas is playing Memphis and VanVleet’s hot return, this is a trend worth watching.
And Now, The Real Question: Are the Raptors Better Without Kawhi Leonard?
Look, I think we all know the answer to this, but, the Raptors definitely do play differently:
They do play differently. ..not sure if it's better especially w/o ur best player...but it should be as u have extra shots and points to be had . Nurse has acknowledged this also https://t.co/ZZ197UCEzy— Paul Jones (@Paul__Jones) March 19, 2019
The ball movement just jumps up a level when Kawhi isn’t in there. This team is full of smart, willing passers, and that’s a part of Kawhi’s game that just isn’t there yet.
The Raptors have 18 assists on 26 made field goals at halftime, and they're shooting 61.9% (55.6% from three).— Joshua Howe (@Howevolution) March 19, 2019
The ball movement, it has been good.
The Raptors have broken 30-plus assists again tonight. A reminder: When they manage that, their record is 15–1. When they put up at least 28 assists, they're 20–3.— Joshua Howe (@Howevolution) March 19, 2019
So I guess the real, real question is: Can the team and Kawhi find a middle ground that merges their strengths, like Voltron, so that they can unleash mocha-lion power all over the Eastern Conference in the playoffs and make their first NBA Finals?
Do these guys look worried?
Serge gotta be the best teammate ever pic.twitter.com/QFfyOLdAeY— William Lou (@william_lou) March 16, 2019
Thank you for indulging me in this little experiment, and thank you to the real heroes — the Raptors writers and Raptors Twitter overall — for helping me out of a jam here. Thanks to you, my consecutive streak of post-game five thought recaps has now reached 163! That’s more than a whole baseball season! (Holy crap baseball seasons are long.)
I hope to be back writing my own thoughts and not borrowing them from Twitter on Thursday following the Raptors’s first meeting with the Thunder.