“It’s a splint. I’m not going to make excuses or complain about it. I have five more weeks in it.” You get the sense that Lowry has a teardown calendar in his bedroom, counting down the days until he can ditch the splint one by one. It was perhaps a little too easy to blame Lowry’s poor shooting night — 2-for-8 from the floor, 7-for-12 from the free-throw line — in the Raptors’ opening-night win on his finger, and Lowry declined to do that, too.
Few have heard of rookie point guard Dennis Schroeder of Germany but scouts and some executives rave about his potential. Toss in free agent Paul Millsap, who was signed to a manageable contract this past summer from Utah, and it’s possible the next wave of Hawks roster is already in place. Schroeder made his NBA debut — five points, five assists — against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.
To further complicate matters, the Raptors offensively were much better without DeMar on the court producing an Offensive Rating of 106.1 compared to the 102.0 with DeMar. Without him on the court, the Dinos ranked seventh in the NBA in offensive efficiency in fact, while with him on the court, dropped to 18th. While defensively the Raps were better with him on the court, it wasn’t as if they were the 1996 Bulls in production, having a 104.3 Defensive Rating with him on the court, which would tie them with Utah last year in 21st position. Having a guard whose defence is below average while accumulating a USG% in the mid 20’s is a tough proposition unless that guard is a great offensive player on the level of Kobe Bryant or Kyrie Irving.
Lowry said the team did too much standing around and overdribbling, which led to an overload of one-on-one play and bad passes. Part of that stemmed from a failure to adjust to the bright lights of the regular season. Part of it to Boston’s aggressive defence (Avery Bradley and Gerald Wallace are particularly keen on pressuring the ball). According to Casey, there was also some play that was too casual. “Some bad passes, one hand passes, some turnovers led to their fast break,” said the coach.
“All these guys you see in the summer with the national team program or you grew up with, you’re playing now in NBA arenas on NBA teams. It’s going to be cool to see and cool to be a part of.” But for Canadian basketball fans, or Raptors fans, the only glitch is none of the NBA’s suddenly sizable Canadian contingent are playing for Canada’s NBA team and apart from a farewell season by Jamaal Magloire a couple of years ago, none ever have.