Toronto Raptors: Whose stock is rising/falling, plus Kawhi takes Texas

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Danny Green (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors bounced back from a disappointing loss against the Rockets with a fine offensive performance against the Mavericks. Who stood out on their trip to Texas?

Well, in a week where the Raptors only had two games early on it’s been pretty busy in the NBA, regardless of your affiliations.

The Marquese Chriss trade request shocked the NBA to its core, a host of teams were immediately on the phone to Daryl Morey, trying to acquire the zero time All-Star in a star-studded deal.

Obviously, I’m kidding. The request that rocked the NBA was that of All-NBA talent, Anthony Davis. AD’s patience finally looks to have worn thin with New Orleans, who have struggled to build a consistent team around one of the best players in the world. For the next week, all eyes will be on the Pelicans. Will they deal Davis before the deadline or do they hold-out for a Boston deal that could well be centered around Jayson Tatum?

Whether the Raptors go all-in on AD is anyone’s guess. Toronto definitely has the assets to do so, but keeping the core of its team could also be seen as a priority. Although, the prospect of Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and AD sharing the court at the same time seems too great of an opportunity to pass up on.

In other news, Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard are great, regardless of the necessity of a third star. Toronto moved down to Texas for a quick two-game road trip, facing the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks in their quest for the number one seed. Both stars showed up in big ways when needed against Dallas, and even in Houston, despite one of the more depressing performances from the Raptors in a long time. Despite not leading at any point during the game and being down by as much as 14 points with three minutes remaining, the game came down to the final shot — a contested fadeaway three from Kawhi Leonard.

The Raptors eventually fell to the Rockets, led by not just James Harden, as the ghost of Kenneth Faried stepped up to the plate and outplayed Serge Ibaka from the word go. Harden had his customary 30-plus point game, but the Raptors threw a litany of lengthy wing defenders at him to make the job that much harder. This isn’t just normal James Harden though, this is Historic James Harden and he gets the job done.

Leaving Texas with a win was imperative for the Raptors, who couldn’t afford to let the Bucks extend their lead in the East. Thankfully, Lowry and Co. stepped up when they were needed most, leading the Raptors to a 123-120 victory in Dallas, despite a Luka Doncic triple-double, the second of his career.

By the time you’re reading this, the Raptors will have dueled with the Milwaukee Bucks once again. Hopefully getting the better of Giannis Antetokounmpo once more, but only you, my faithful readers, know the answer to that question.

Do you know who features in this week’s article, though?

Congrats if you do, let’s begin.