Toronto Raptors Roundup: All Star Week and more

Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Jeremy Lin (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors played only two games this week and then headed off to the All-Star Break. Toronto Raptors Roundup catches you up on the highlights and the All-Star festivities.

Banged up. Bruised. Beaten. The All-Star Break couldn’t come at a better time for the Toronto Raptors.

Every Raptor is feeling the effects of the season. Every Raptor is playing through some pain, some discomfort. Kyle Lowry has been struggling with lower back issues. Kawhi Leonard has been resting a quad as well as dealing with a sore knee recently. Danny Green has been dealing with a sore left hand. The list goes on.

And then there is Fred VanVleet. He will be out up to five weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a partial ligament tear. This season, VanVleet is averaging 10.5 points, 4.5 assists and nearly three rebounds per game. Those numbers are down from last season and VanVleet’s regression can be pointed to as part of the cause for the bench’s lack of production.

Many hope that the recent addition of Jeremy Lin, signed after he was released from the Atlanta Hawks, will help to plug some of the gaps that VanVleet’s injury has caused. Lin, while certainly not the player he was a few years ago, can still act as a serviceable third guard and possibly in a dynamic line-up featuring both him and one of either Lowry or VanVleet, once VanVleet returns.

Game Recap

Brooklyn at Toronto

A review of Nets-Raptors games this year will leave Toronto basketball fans with one thought – avoid Brooklyn in the playoffs. At all costs. These guys are getting better, and fast. D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points and had a career-high 14 assists for Brooklyn. Joe Harris, recently crowned ‘Three-Point Competition’ winner, scored 24 points and hit seven 3-pointers.

Marc Gasol, playing his first Toronto home game, received a standing ovation and then becoming the spark plug off the bench in the second half, finishing the game with 16 points, six rebounds, and two assists.

The game was tied after three-quarters and went back and forth in the fourth. It came down to the final shot by Kawhi Leonard who took a pass from Lowry with four seconds remaining and then proceeded to bank a tie breaking basket to put the Raptors ahead for good 127-125.

“I asked if he called ‘bank,'” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “He said he called ‘game.'”

Washington at Toronto

This year, Khris Middleton became the first former G-League player to appear in an All-Star game. Next year, Pascal Siakam will be the second.

In what can only be described as his breakout season, Siakam has been posting career bests in what seems like every other week. The game against the Wizards was the most recent in a long line of personal bests.

Siakam scored a career-high 44 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 129-120 for their sixth straight win. The Raptors needed a brilliant second half from OG Anunoby, who scored a career-best himself with 22 points, to pull away from the new look Wizards.

Jeremy Lin suited up for the Raptors for the first time, scoring eight points and added five assists in 25 minutes. The Raptors entered the All-Star Break on a high note, winning their sixth game in a row.

All-Star weekend

Here is a look at the achievements and contributions of the Toronto Raptors at All-Star  weekend:

OG Anunoby – Anunoby played in his first (should’ve been in last year’s) Rising Stars Game for Team World. He found himself in the starting line-up and then proceeded to make six of nine shots, finishing with 12 points and two rebounds.

Danny Green – Green had a good performance in a loaded Three-Point Contest, scoring 23 points, usually enough to push you through to the second round. But it wasn’t meant to be as Steph Curry and eventual winner Joe Harris were the stars on this night. Green made just as big a splash behind the mic as he was everywhere on All-Star weekend, from colour-commenting on the Rising Stars game to interviewing players on Media Day.

Kyle Lowry – Never thought the All-Star game was Kyle’s type of game. HIs game doesn’t have enough flash. His has too much grit and hustle. He did show a little defence in the second half helping Team LeBron make their comeback but he also missed a couple of threes, big time. He finished with a line of three points, three rebounds and three assists.

Kawhi Leonard –  Leonard started the game off strong scoring 10 points on four for seven shooting, including two from deep. Leonard didn’t start the second, giving his spot up to Dwayne Wade, but came out shooting in the fourth. He finished with 19 points going 5 for 11 from deep.  Unfortunately, much of the Twitter buzz around Kawhi seemed to be focused on reading his lips during his introduction. Sigh.

The Week Ahead

San Antonio at Toronto

The regular season continues for the Raptors next Friday with the game many Toronto basketball fans have been waiting for – the return of DeMar DeRozan to Toronto. Expect an electric and emotional atmosphere as fan favourite and all-time Raptor great returns for the first time since the off-season trade.

Next. Full Jeremy Lin Scouting Report. dark

Orlando at Toronto

Nikola Vucevic and his 20.5 points per game come to Toronto on Sunday afternoon. The Magic have won five in a row and seven of eight coming out of the break and are a half game out of the eighth position in the East. Expect a battle.