It’s fitting that Jose Calderon, one of the most beloved Toronto Raptors of all time and the franchise’s second all-time leader in games played, stood opposite the team on Monday. Starting for the New York Knicks and hosting his former team, Calderon watched as a pair of current Raptors continued their assault on a record book he’s a large part of.
He had a big hand in Kyle Lowry’s night, providing little resistance as Lowry recorded his eighth career triple-double and his sixth as a member of the Raptors. Those six triple-doubles are far more than Calderon (two) had as a Raptor and more than Damon Stoudamire (three), who held the record before Lowry topped it in November of 2014. Lowry has now posted six of the 18 triple-doubles recorded in franchise history, as well as the last six overall.
In 35 minutes – hey, an almost reasonable total! – Lowry scored 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting with 11 rebounds and 11 assists. For as great as Calderon was (and, let’s be honest, is, because he’s still the greatest), the fact that there was ever a point guard battle here is unseemly in retrospect. Shout out to Calderon, his 18-10-14 triple-double from 2012, and my former dog who was named after him. I guess the next one might have to be named KLOE? Lowry’s night Monday ranks quite high among triple-doubles in team history, as it’s just the seventh that came with 20 points (and the third of those 20-10-10s for Lowry).
Lowry also had two triple-doubles as a member of the Houston Rockets, and he now ranks tied for 11th among all active players with eight triple-doubles.
And, of course, Lowry’s big night helped lead to a 122-95 Raptors victory. That win may have meant a lot to Lowry considering the fate he could have lived out in Madison Square Garden on a far darker timeline, but it probably meant even more to teammate DeMar DeRozan, who had 22 points of his own.
With the victory, DeRozan passed Morris Peterson and Andrea Bargnani as the franchise’s all-time winningest player. A seven-year veteran who ranks fourth in games played as a Raptor with 498, DeRozan has now “enjoyed” a 233-265 record as a member of the organization. That’s not a great winning percentage, but he deserves credit for being a major part of what may be the best three-year stretch in team history, a stretch that’s in turn lifted his own personal won-loss record.
Player wins and losses mean little, obviously, but again, they’re indicative of the team’s overall well-being during a player’s tenure. A playoff series win would help lift DeRozan, alongside Lowry, firmly into the discussion of the top three Raptors ever after Vince Carter and Chris Bosh, and DeRozan’s approach of Carter for second in franchise scoring (he’s 530 points back) well help further to that end.
For what started as an ugly game, it was a pretty good one, in terms of team history.