The Toronto Raptors were very well represented at this year’s All-Star weekend. How well did they represent Canada’s only team?
Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Nick Nurse were all representatives for the Toronto Raptors at All-Star weekend in Chicago. Siakam and Nurse were both participating for the first time while Lowry made his sixth straight appearance.
As expected, each and everyone faced their fair share of criticism throughout the weekend, but I tried to debunk all of that on this weeks episode of the Raptors Rapture podcast:
As always, the All-Star Saturday Night starts with the Skills Challenge. Generally speaking, this event is the least important of the night, however, that changed this year with the addition of Spicy P in the mix.
Siakam didn’t win the contest, but he sure did put on a good show. In his first-round matchup against Patrick Beverley, no one on the panel picked him to win, but he came out on top. Unfortunately, that’s where his success ran out losing in the second-round to Miami Heat big man, Bam Adebayo.
This was Siakam’s first introduction to the All-Star atmosphere, and all things considered, he did a great job.
Now let’s move onto Sunday night where all three Raptors were repping the same jerseys.
As expected, both Lowry and Nurse caught some serious heat on Twitter for the amount of playing time KLow got late in the fourth quarter.
Nurse was being criticized for playing favourites and Lowry was criticized for not being Trae Young. In both cases, it was undeserved.
In a quarter that finally had some defensive intensity being shown, Lowry was the obvious choice to put out there. He was probably the best defensive guard in that game and Nurse’s decision to keep him in the game was impeccable.
Yes, he had a tough foul on Anthony Davis that essentially ended the game and a tough turnover late, but he also saved the game on multiple occasions with two – should have been three – charges and a late steal.
It might not be what you want to see from an All-Star game, but it’s what makes Lowry one of the best point guards in the league.
As for Siakam, his first All-Star game should also be considered a success. He doesn’t necessarily have the game to be all over House of Highlights in this type of game, but he made his plays.
He was also out there late in the game because of his defensive ability and it showed as no one was going at him to try to get an easy bucket.
Going beyond the actual basketball, the best part of this weekend’s festivities had to be how fun each of the Raptors players looked like they were having.
Lowry, all us Raptors fans feel you, man. He’s our “beloved” too.