Morning Coffee – Wed, Mar 30

DeMarre not coming back? Maybe? | Lowry's elbow a big issue | Stormin' Norman! | CP3 endorses Lowry for Team USA | Dancing Barista lands at ACC | Biz raising money for charity one rebound at a time | Raptors vs Hawks

Raptors’ Biyombo hopes boards help build in Congo | Toronto Star

“It hinders me from getting full extension,” Lowry said, “but getting it drained and getting some treatment (Tuesday), it’s getting better.”
Casey sounded like he would use Lowry for Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“He’s been playing with it, there’s no reason to shut a player down for that. He’s in great condition, his legs are fresh, his body is fresh it’s just that he’s got a bursa on his elbow that had to be drained,” he said.

Report: DeMarre Carroll’s return “very much in doubt” for this season | ProBasketballTalk

This is not a death blow for the Raptors’ chances of making a deep playoff run, but it certainly doesn’t help things. Carroll is their best perimeter defender, the only credible threat to guard LeBron James in a series, and it’s hard to see them getting past the Cavaliers without him. They have enough offensively to stay with most teams, but what Carroll adds on the defensive end is going to be crucial in the playoffs.

Lowry’s elbow a major concern for Raptors | Toronto Sun

Lowry was still rolling until he landed on the elbow in a March 20 game against Orlando. He was way off in that one, got rested for the game in Boston and has shot 11-for-36 in the three games since, including 5-for-26 from three. He’s been made at himself for missing free throws and though he at first denied the elbow had anything to do with it, it’s clear it has had an impact. Lowry shot around 85% from the line over the first few months of the season, 78% in February, but has hit at just a 70% clip in March, including just 50% over the past three games since he hurt his elbow again.

Lowry got the elbow drained after Monday’s loss to Oklahoma City, but isn’t sure rest will help it. The hope is draining it will mostly solve the problem.

Lowry is the engine to everything Toronto does. He needs to be healthy for the playoffs, or as close to it as possible, or else the Raptors will fall in the opening round.

Raptors by the numbers: Injury explains Kyle Lowry’s recent shooting woes | Eh Game – Yahoo Sports Canada

At least an ailing elbow is a reasonable explanation for Lowry’s shooting struggles. However, Lowry doesn’t think rest will help get him back on track, which helps explain why he’s averaged 35 minutes per game over the last three games.

Toronto’s next six opponents are playoff teams, including potential first round opponents Charlotte and Indiana. Lowry has made it clear he wants to keep playing, and he hopes getting his elbow drained is the only aid he needs.

What the Raptors need is a healthy Lowry, who ranks third in total minutes played this season behind Houston’s James Harden and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, in just under three weeks time when the playoffs begin. He’s been banged up in each of the Raptors’ last two postseason runs and if Toronto is going to progress to the second round, that can’t be the case again.

Raptors’ Kyle Lowry has fluid drained from elbow | Toronto Sun

The team can manage to play without Lowry, forcing players to step up, but any extended absence would be problematic.

There’s no hint whatsoever of Lowry not being ready for the post-season, despite those who feel the sky is falling.

He’s competitive as anyone in the association and perhaps this latest setback may prove a blessing in disguise, provided it’s not long-term.

The elbow issue has affected his shooting with Lowry making reference to his poor free-throw shooting following Toronto’s recent loss in Houston, an indication that his mechanics were off, one of the byproducts of not being able to extend his elbow.

“When players hit the floor so much they knock their elbow,’’ said head coach Dwane Casey. “And he’s been playing with it and that’s the reason for his shooting. Everybody wants to get all up in the air because of that, but that’s the reason.

“Kyle didn’t all at once forget how to shoot the ball. He’s been playing with it. There’s no reason to shut a player down for that. He’s in great condition, his legs are fresh, his body is fresh. It’s just that he’s got a bursa on his elbow and we drained it.”

Mini Me #daddylovesyou

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Quick Stat Hits: Get Ready for Stormin’ Norman Powell | Raptors HQ

He’s not proven to be any sort of elixir for the starting lineup, just another name at the small forward position to add to the variations that have made no difference for that group (that list includes DeMarre Carroll, James Johnson, Terrence Ross, and now Norman Powell). But that’s no surprise, and it’s no surprise that Powell’s on-court numbers are not great because of his inclusion in that group. And to his credit, the lineup’s -4 net rating over the last 14 games is pretty comparable to when DeMarre Carroll was playing there (-2.8), and better than when James Johnson was (-5.7). Not bad for a second round rookie.

As with every other small forward before him, it would be nice to get a larger sample of minutes with the starters, but with Patterson instead of Scola. That lineup has played five minutes compared to the 67 minutes the actual starters have played over the past 14 games. Although the +49 net rating they carried in those 5 minutes suggest Powell might be doing just fine.

Raptors rookie Norman Powell is ‘playing like an old man’ | The Globe and Mail

The Raptors drafted him 46th over all last June, with the second-round pick acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Greivis Vasquez. Powell was thrilled to be joining a Raptors squad that starred a player he had idolized as a youngster.

“DeMar, I grew up watching him in California – I can remember watching him jump over players in high school and dunk over them,” said Powell, who watched DeRozan at California Interscholastic Federation games and at the other local collegiate powerhouse, USC. “He was one of my favourite players, so when I got here to Toronto, I started to pick his brain, learn how he got here, and began working out with him. We both like to prove people wrong.”

Powell just made his 15th start for the Raptors, versus the Thunder. He tallied a career-high 18 points, including four three-pointers, along with four rebounds and two blocked shots. But he had the humbling task of guarding Westbrook, who finished with 26 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds.

Powell has had more than 15 points in three straight games now, and while he still makes rookie mistakes, he keeps improving and gaining more responsibilities. Coach Dwane Casey has often complimented the youngster’s mature defence by saying he’s “playing like an old man.”

I may look down but my head stays up. 💯

A photo posted by Patrick Patterson (@pdpatt) on

How good can Norman Powell be?  | Raptors Cage

His contribution helped lift the Raps to a 107-89 blowout of the Bucks. He managed to shoot 40% from the field, go 3/7 from beyond the arc while accumulating 2 blocks and a steal in that game. Powell also provided a solid performance in a loss against the Houston Rockets. He tallied 13 points, 4 boards, 2 helpers, a block and a steal. Even more impressive was the game he had against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Raptors may have dropped the game, but Powell provided the team with 18 points, 4 boards and 2 blocks all while shooting 54% from the field and a ludicrous 57% from downtown in 28 minutes. Keep in mind, this is only a glimpse of what he’ll be capable of doing in 2-4 years.

Verdict

It may be too early to say what role Powell will serve, and even where he might be. However, with his combination of athleticism and his work ethic, plus the fact that he’s already established himself as one of the top second-round rookies, there’s no doubt he has the tools to be a very good player for years to come.

The Raptor looking extra colourful today. #SagerStrong

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Chris Paul endorses Raptors’ Lowry for Team USA after withdrawing | Sportsnet.ca

The Raptors point guard would be a worthy replacement for Paul as he’s enjoying a career-best season with averages of 21.6 points, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game for a Toronto team that currently sits second in the Eastern Conference and on the verge of a franchise-record 50 wins with nine games left.

Should he get the invite, however, Lowry will be in for some stiff competition with point guards Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Mike Conley already in the mix.

Regardless if he were to make the team or not, it’s a huge honour to be selected for Team USA Olympic camp and with such a glowing endorsement behind him from one of USA Basketball’s favourites, Lowry should start getting his hopes up that he’ll be getting a call soon.

Dancing Toronto Starbucks barista visits the Raptors | CBC News

One month after sitting down with American talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, Forbes and his manager, Chris Ali, have gotten tight with the Toronto Raptors — sitting courtside for an NBA game Monday night and visiting a Raptors practice on Tuesday.

Road To The Six: Week 19 Recap | Toronto Raptors

Player Watch

Shannon Scott has been much more aggressive of late, looking more for his own shot. Scott was one of the main contributors in the three-point barrages against the Knicks, knocking down eight of his 17 attempts in two games. Scott has also taken advantage of having more shooters around him, efficiently swinging the ball around and racking up his assist numbers. The guard recorded the first triple-double in franchise history in the first game in Westchester this week, tallying 24 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.

Standing at just 6’1, the former Ohio State Buckeye has shown an uncanny ability to rebound the ball, even effectively boxing out 7’2 Jordan Bachynski in one game. Scott rounded out the week with another all-around performance with 12 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the blowout victory against Grand Rapids.

Dwane Casey – does Raptors coach deserve more credit? | Raptors Rapture

If we accept the premise that a great coach must be able to hide weaknesses, how does Casey fare? Let’s consider defense first. Who’s the worst defender among our core group? I’m going to offer up DeMar DeRozan as my anti-candidate. When was the last time DD covered James Harden from the opening tip? Um, never…that thankless assignment went to Norman Powell.

A smart coach knows which side of the ball each player is better at. Casey knows he’s got to mask DD on defense, because he’s too important to the Raptors offense to play fewer than 36 minutes. And we don’t want DD in foul trouble, either. Solution: DeMar, don’t follow your man if he dribbles into the key. Calling “help” may be considered unmanly, but too bad. Box out, grab some weak-side rebounds, and don’t reach in. We need you on the floor.

Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks: Wednesday game preview | Toronto Star

Key matchup: Kyle Lowry (or Cory Joseph) vs. Jeff Teague. If Lowry’s elbow doesn’t take him out of Wednesday’s game, it could at least limit him against Teague. The Hawks’ point guard comes to Toronto on the heels of a 26-point, seven-assist, six-rebound effort in just 30 minutes in Monday’s win against the Bulls. Lowry, or a combination of Cory Joseph and Delon Wright, will have to work hard to bottle up the catalyst of a balanced offence.

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