Kyle Lowry needs sleep

Look for Raptors to lighten the load on Kyle Lowry as playoffs draw near | National Post

“We want to win,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s the number one thing. But you’ve got to have healthy players. It’s a catch-22. You play DeMar [DeRozan] and Kyle for 38, 40, 42 minutes, and sooner or later it’s going to tell on them. It’s not a major revelation that we need to watch [their minutes], but at the same time, win. Winning trumps a lot.” It will be a tough line for Casey to walk, although the Raptors’ soft schedule down the stretch could help: Ten of their remaining 13 games are against teams outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference — so, some of the worst teams in the league. That could allow Casey some more opportunity to rest the point guard, although he would never admit such a thing. Regardless, this guarantees that Greivis Vasquez will be playing more often, particularly without Lowry in a two-point guard lineup.

Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers: Tuesday NBA game preview | Toronto Star

OFFENCE APLENTY The Cavs have been putting up the points of late, averaging 102 points in their last four games and shooting better than 50 per cent from the field in three of them. MISSING PIECE The Cavaliers will be without all-star point guard Kyrie Irving, who has missed the last four games and is out at least other week with a left biceps strain. FAMILIAR FACE With Irving on the shelf, the Cavs have turned to ex-Raptor Jarrett Jack as a starter. Jack showed he can still fill it up in a hurry with 31 points and 10 assists in a Sunday win over the New York Knicks.

Lewenberg: Valanciunas’ locker room cheat sheet | TSN

Outwork, outrun, sprint [Set] great, legal screens Step to [your] man Block out. And it goes on like that. “He got really down on himself when he went through that tough stretch,” Bayno explained. “So we just really sat down and talked and [I] said, ‘look, it’s no secret, JV, these are the things you’ve got to do’.” “You’re going to have some ups and downs,” he told the second-year pro, “but I’m going to write it in your locker, so every day before the game you see, this is what you have to do on a nightly basis.” “Everything that’s on that sheet is what we work on.”

Raps face tough road to the second round |

Where the playoffs are concerned, the following question has come up more than a few times over the years in Toronto: “What good is it to get into the final playoff spot only to get drilled by Miami or Indiana?” While it’s extremely unlikely the Raptors will draw the Heat or Pacers in the first round, Chicago and Brooklyn could both be added to the list of teams against which the Raptors, home-court advantage or not, would be considered underdogs. So, are the playoffs a waste of time if Toronto gets bumped—or even swept—in the first round? Definitely not. What’s important is the experience provided by a taste of post-season action.

Raptors still missing final piece of the puzzle–how to win games decided in the final seconds | Vancouver Sun

In overtime games this season the Raptors are 1-6. They are 0-1 in triple overtime games, they are 0-2 in double overtime games, and they are 1-3 in single overtime games. The numbers are just as grim in late game results in regulation. In the final minute of games where the Raptors are down five points or less they are 2-18. In the final three minutes of games when they are down five points or less they are 5-20. In the final five minutes when they are down five points or less they are 7-22. In the final thirty seconds when they are plus/minus three points they are 4-14 and in the final ten seconds of games when they are plus/minus three points they are 2-14. What do these numbers mean? The Raptors win games by building enough of a lead so their lack of late game execution cannot hurt. The strange factor not shown in those numbers is that the Raptors are among the top teams in the league in fourth quarter efficiency.

Critics say Liberals must stop giving taxpayer dollars to Drake and MLSE |

Multimillionaire rapper Drake has been awarded a $300,000 government grant to stage his two-day OVO Fest in Toronto this summer. According to Ticketmaster, admission ranges from $66.50 to $750 for “platinum” two-day tickets. Meanwhile, Toronto’s Beaches International Jazz Festival — a free event — didn’t qualify for a grant under the same program, called Celebrate Ontario, even though it had received $75,000 a year for the past six years. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, a sports giant estimated to be worth $2 billion, has requested $10 million from the province to upgrade a soccer field in Toronto. The company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and the city’s professional soccer team says it will put in $90 million for the upgrade of BMO Field, but only if it gets $30 million from the city, province and federal government.

Why This Year’s Toronto Raptors Squad Offers Hope For The Future | Raptors Cage

As the Raptors loom closer to the playoffs, some of their potential matchups look challenging. The Chicago Bulls have playoff experience and are probably the grittiest team in the league. The Bobcats aren’t that far away from the sixth seed, and they’ve owned the Raptors in recent match-ups. Then of course there’s the Brooklyn Nets. They’re experienced, and getting things together at the right time. The name and location may have changed, but they’re still the same Nets that disposed of the Raptors in the first round of the 2006-2007 playoffs. If the Raptors were to face the Nets in the first round this year, besting them in the seven game series would be a big moment in Raptors history. It wouldn’t just mean another second round appearance; It would mean vengeance, and it would signify that the Raptors are and will be a legitimate threat in the league. It would be just one more thing that separates this team from the team that was nothing more than a one season wonder.

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  • Duke Nukem

    Part of me really wants to see us match up with the Nets. Then the logical side of me kicks in and wants no part of them. It’ll be very difficult to knock off the wily veterans!

    • Eunys

      Personally, I don t care who we face ! We could have won last game against Brooklyn (even without Pat Pat)! The raptors can beat any team at home and on the road…just need to get more disciplined….Go raptorsssssssssssss

    • Stephen

      By “wily veterans” you of course mean “four marketable guys that the NBA can sell as having a chance against the Pacers or Heat in the second round on ABC a lot easier than some scrappy team from Toronto that gets by on a bulldog point guard, good team D, and an all-star who mainly excels in getting to the line.”

      I mean, that’s what I take it to mean. 🙂

      • Wes mantooth

        Right on man! You’re so right! So much of the results in this league are determined purely by marketing. The Brooklyn story , the Chicago story etc..
        Even the john wall story gives that team a boost. It’s blatantly obvious when watching the bulls. It’s been established that they play D so the refs appear to act accordingly by allowing them to play hockey like defense. Games are not called fairly and I feel like it has everything to do with an underdog story of a team that just plays really hard! Oh yeah the underdog team just so happens to be Chicago.
        It’s part of the reason why I’m having trouble fully enjoying the raps success, cause deep down I know we’re gonna get screwed by this somehow
        This is also obvious by the lack of national coverage we get in the states and the amount that the la lakers still get. Triple the raps ! I live here it’s very frustrating

        Paranoid beaten down Toronto fan..

    • morgan c

      The thought of JV absolutely abusing KG as the series wears on and KG not being able to move gives me so much twisted pleasure it’s almost perverse.

      Ideal scenario, late in Game 6 or something, at home, with us up by like 12 or something… JV gets inside position on KG and abuses him in post. Even better, he misses two bunnies but keeps getting offensive boards and finally slams it in his face, and screams at him. Either that or he just blocks him like three times in a row on the defensive end, and elbows his face so he bloodies KG’s nose. Technical foul be damned at that point.

      And yes, I realize this is (borderline?) psychotic, BUT after all the KG taunting (Jose Calderon anyone? – Barking at him like a dog when you’re 7 feet and he’s a 6 3 guard?!), it would just be so amazing to watch. Ultimate comeuppance. Karma’s a bitch. But damn, we better beat them if we play…

  • ckh26

    Really like the piece from the Sun (vancouver) Finding the guy to step and take the late shot is something we have to do to make the next level. I think that guy is already on the roster and still finding his way. Terrence Ross when his mind is in the zone can’t seem to miss. Thats our guy. Now he has to complete his on the job training for that role. .

    • Milesboyer

      Was at the taping of the Masai Ujiri interview on the Strombolopolous show yesterday, which I think is airing next Monday. Great interview, didn’t reveal anything we don’t already know but was talking about the importance of mentoring young players and mentioned that he had just talked to Terrence Ross earlier that day about his sleep patterns. Once these guys figure out the importance of diet and sleep, it more often than not takes their game up a notch.

      • ckh26

        Yes I think your spot on with that. Especially on the diet part. Aside from the training staff there is really no one to watch nutrition patterns. The combo at Wendys or Mickey-D’s to fill the gap is sustainable in the NBA.. in the NCAA maybe.. but clearly not here.

        • Stephen

          A lot of that is on the player, too. I’m sure the Raps point people in the direction of third party nutritional consultants, either with the understanding that they’ll cover the cost or with the hint that it’s in the player’s best interests, much like offseason workouts.

  • Stephen

    Okay, that Nets OT game admittedly even had my “odds still heavily favour the Raps winning the division” self worried.

    Chicago… just, stop, please. You’re not supposed to be this good. You’re making Rose feel jealous. DO YOU WANT THAT!?!

  • DryDry

    From the Sportsnet story:

    “…Chicago and Brooklyn could both be added to the list of teams against which the Raptors, home-court advantage or not, would be considered underdogs.”

    This is booolsh*t!

    Why are we underdogs to either?

    We’re 2-1 against each of them since the Gay trade.

    • afrocarter

      Because both of those teams, most certainly Chicago, are playing a superior brand of basketball at the moment. Not to mention just how much the media in general values play-off experience.

      I’m actually fine with the Raptors being the underdog. Please, by all means, underestimate our team…

      • Rapchat

        haha yeah man I agree, go right ahead and overlook us…