Turns out, the game was pleasantly exciting! Unfortunately, the outcome didn’t go our way, as the Raptors fell 115-108.
1. Kyle Lowry 10K PU3IT
Kyle Lowry shook off his shooting slump last night, draining six of his eight three-point attempts, but it was the first that was the most memorable. It was a classic Kyle Lowry pull-up three in transition, and it vaulted him over the 10,000 point mark as a Raptor.
It’s funny: there hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer for this season, so moments like this take on a bit of extra meaning. On the other hand, it’s all the more depressing that Lowry hit this mark at a “home” game in Tampa with no fans. It should have happened here in Toronto! We should have given him a standing O! When he passes Chris Bosh for second all-time in Raptors scoring, which will happen later this season, I’ll no doubt feel the same conflict.
2. Floor General Lowry
It’s always fun seeing Lowry direct traffic out there — at least when it works out. (Actually, it’s also fun when it doesn’t work out, as we then get to see him make exasperated Kyle Lowry faces at his teammates.)
I really enjoyed this play in the second quarter last night, Lowry up top, directing Terence Davis to the wing, then directing Chris Boucher to follow and screen for Davis coming back, freeing Davis up for three:
Nice, simple action from Coach Kyle to get a good look. Thumbs up from me!
3. Pre-905 Watson Run
Seeing Paul Watson Jr. get the first-half call over Stanley Johnson was an odd thing to see. Not that I mind seeing Watson! I’ve been hoping he’d get some run to show what he can do.
Unfortunately, what he did last night was commit two bad fouls and blow a two-on-one opportunity at the rim.
He didn’t see the floor again after halftime.
With the G-League bubble about to start, I do wonder if this was Nick Nurse giving Watson a “show me what you got” look to determine whether to keep him with the big club or send him to Orlando. If that was the case, given the outcome of the minutes… well, it looks like some 905 may be in Paul’s future.
4. Stanimal from the Corner!
Stanley Johnson was back in the rotation in the second half, and he was darn good yet again, playing excellent D all over the floor and doing mostly the right things on offense. In fact, the Raptors went on a 9-0 run when he entered the game in the third, allowing the Raptors to close the Milwaukee lead to one point entering the fourth.
Part of that run was this beautiful possession that ended in a Johnson corner three:
Johnson was nearly as instrumental in the final frame too; he drained another corner three to cut the Milwaukee lead back to four with 1:20 to go, and then had another open three to cut it to one 15 seconds later… but that one rimmed out, and that was pretty much it for the Raptors’ comeback attempt.
5. When You Say Nothing At All
The Canadian broadcast, as it does at least once a game, randomly decided not to show us a live play last night during the fourth quarter. It’s normally infuriating, but this time, they decided to spend the entire play focused on Nick Nurse’s face... and it was kinda awesome. I have no idea what actually happened on the play — an ATO inbounds by the Raptors under their own hoop — but the look on Nurse’s face really tells you everything you need to know:
Turnover? Bad shot? Missed call? I have no idea. All I know is that whatever it was, it ultimately led to a Donte DiVincenzo fast break dunk the other way, which kicked off an 8-0 Bucks run, which in turn had everyone watching making the same face as Nurse.
I’d pay TSN $1.67 a month for the option to watch a Nick Nurse close-up cam for the entire game.
It feels like this Raptors team is tarting to gel defensively, which is great to see. But it also seems to become clear that, unless Siakam turns a corner on this season, there just isn’t a good enough shot creator on the team to shake them out of their offensive droughts. Can the D become good enough to overcome that weakness? Short of a trade, we’re going to find out, one way or the other.