Morning Coffee – Wed, Oct 7

14 mins read
Cover Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for Audi Innovation Series

Toronto Raptors 2019-20 Player Review: Kyle Lowry just completed his masterpiece – Raptors HQ

An earlier version of Lowry may have had less time for youthful screw ups. It’s not that he hasn’t always been a kickass teammate or a fountain of basketball knowledge, but this season offered Lowry an unprecedented margin for error. Fair or not (definitely not), Raptors shortcomings in pre-Kawhi years would inevitably morph into more bullshit for the pile of weak arguments against Lowry’s standing as one of the defining players of the last decade. Winning a title, and capping that run with a huge-nutted 26 points in Game 6 of the Finals, put a muzzle on the noise for good. The Lowry we saw in 2019-20 played with the freedom of someone who knew he had nothing left to prove, understanding that a loss here or a playoff exit there couldn’t do a damn thing to tarnish his all-timer status.

The result was joy — the unencumbered kind that opens up avenues deemed too risky for a more burdened mind to saunter down. Fear of heights can’t exist when there’s nowhere to plummet when you step to the place Lowry occupied all season: the edge. At 33 and then 34, Lowry ratcheted up his minutes, hurled his body every which way, and gutted himself to a collection of his greatest games in a Raps jersey to date, along the way egging opponents on, more or less shouting “fucking try me,” knowing damn well he’d come out clean even if they did. Toronto wasn’t going to snap back from the loss of Kawhi Leonard only to improve its record without a little brazen defiance. Lowry conjured enough for everyone to share on his own.

Not even an exhibition game could offer reprieve from Lowry’s tour of delirium. He will forever be the guy who made the All-Star good and cool; the image of his double finger-guns after taking a charge from Leonard in crunch time would be as proper an inspiration as any for the statue that’s sure to be built outside Scotiabank Arena some day soon. It takes a special kind of lunatic to get superstars heated and media members excited during what’s more or less a working vacation for both. Lowry’s that kind of lunatic.

Add stakes to the equation, and he becomes the most frustrating video game boss you’ve ever tried to kill. It took all of seven post-season games for Lowry to top his previous playoff peak in last spring’s title clincher; the 31-6-8 on 13-of-23 he posted in the aforementioned third game against Boston was more singularly impressive and frankly necessary than his killer Game 6 against the Warriors. It then took him just three more games to raise the bar again. When the ink is dry on Lowry’s top-to-bottom wonderful career, the double-OT win over Boston in Game 6 will probably go down as the best night of basketball he ever put together. It’s the sort of game plenty of superstars wish to play but never will. For a more boring player, it might be the first line you pull in an argument about his Hall of Fame credentials — a form of discussion, by the way, that’s now having ifs and buts replaced by wills and whens for Lowry.

But of course Lowry’s arc is just as much defined by its high points as it is by all the lows that led to them. Flip to any chapter in his career and you’ll find a compelling passage, something that informs the rise that took so many years to complete, fleshing out the story of one of the most complex and interesting people to ever achieve NBA immortality. His record is unassailable now, a fact made more meaningful because it was never preordained. From back-up to so-so starter to malcontent to beloved stud, Lowry, the demon genius, has turned himself into your favourite player’s favourite player, your favourite coach’s dream pupil, and your favourite writer’s favourite guy to do blogs about.

If you still don’t get it, if you keep wondering why this barely six-foot shit disturber from the league’s northern outpost just keeps on winning, you’re a willful dolt, one whose spent eight years denying yourself all the joy Lowry used to flip off the league all season long en route to his newest crowning achievement.

Sheriff’s deputy claims he blocked and shoved Masai Ujiri to prevent possible ‘mass murder’ and terrorism | The Star

In a new court filing, the sheriff’s deputy in California who had an altercation with Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri in an NBA arena last year says he was justified in shoving Ujiri because the altercation happened at a high-profile sporting event where there was a “risk” of crimes such as the 1993 stabbing of tennis star Monica Seles or the terrorist killing of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

In seeking to have a counterclaim by Ujiri against Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland tossed out, Strickland’s lawyers state in a new court motion that after an attempt at “gentle physical guidance” by Strickland, Ujiri twice tried to “barge past” the officer and a private security official — the first time allegedly “swatting” Strickland’s hand away.

The incident happened at the end of last year’s NBA Finals in June when the Raptors captured a championship title over the Golden State Warriors. Ujiri was attempting to get on the basketball court in Oakland when he was stopped by Strickland. Body cam video in the lawsuit shows the officer shoving him hard twice, and Ujiri shoving the officer back afterward. The officer shouts “back the f— up after the first shove.

Strickland launched a lawsuit against Ujiri after the run-in. Strickland claims in his lawsuit that he suffered physical and emotional injuries. He is seeking $75,000 (U.S.) in damages.

The Raptors have said that a video released with Ujiri’s counter suit proves Ujiri wasn’t the aggressor in the dispute.

Neither side’s claims have yet been proven in court.

Deputy who shoved Toronto Raptors president compares situation to terrorists who murdered Israelis – KTVU

In his legal arguments, he said that Ujiri “twice tried to barge past courtside security anyway … and swatted his hand away and tried to shoulder his way past.” Strickland described his own actions as merely trying to offer “gentle physical guidance.”

Even though it is clear that Ujiri was holding some sort of credential in his hand, which is evidenced in the video made public last month, Strickland accuses Ujiri of “not wearing any armband or even a lanyard with a credential on it.”

Strickland’s key argument is that Ujiri needed to be wearing a bright gold armband for access, which he in fact did not have. Ujiri’s credential appears to be purple on a dark blue or black lanyard. In Oakland police reports, a Toronto Raptors executive admitted that she had not given the gold armband to Ujiri at the game. Ujiri’s legal team has argued the president had an “all-access” credential and a gold armband is a moot point.

Strickland said that a private security official spoke to Ujiri, explaining that he wanted to check his credentials “real quick.”  But Ujiri completely ignored him and continued past, Strickland alleged. However, the video shows that this security guard is not looking in Ujiri’s direction at the time.

Strickland argued that he “ultimately had to shove him in the chest to prevent the security breach. Predictably, neither open-handed shove to Mr. Ujiri’s chest caused any injury. But Mr. Ujiri then decided to assault Deputy Strickland anyway. Apparently for public relations reasons, now asserts an assortment of false allegations in counterclaims.”

The 2020 NBA Playoffs’ ‘Robert Horry All-Stars’ | Bleacher Report

After cruising through their seeding games and walking all over a shorthanded Brooklyn Nets club in the first round, the Toronto Raptors hit a snag in the conference semifinals against the similarly red-hot Boston Celtics. Pascal Siakam couldn’t create a shot to save his life, Marc Gasol was rendered nearly unplayable, and the team’s usually fearsome defense was repeatedly gashed by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

But through it all, OG Anunoby provided the Raptors with a sense of stability and competence when nobody else could.

After finishing the regular season on fire (11.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 54.5/46.6/77.8 shooting splits over his last 20 games), the third-year wing maintained his production against the Celtics.

He recorded two double-doubles in the series, shut down Tatum and Kemba Walker and continued to drain threes with Stephen Curry-esque efficiency (46.4 percent). You could also credibly argue that the Indiana alum legitimately (though temporarily) saved Toronto’s season when he sunk a thrilling buzzer-beater over Brown to win Game 3 and get his team on the board.

With Marc Gasol potentially going to play in his native Spain, Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet approaching free agency and Kyle Lowry set to hit the open market in 2021, the Raptors could soon look very different. But as long as they lay claim to Anunoby and his consistently stellar two-way play—alongside Siakam, of course—they’ll be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference.

Best Drake Jordan OVO Sneaker Collaborations of All Time | Complex

Air Jordan 4 “Drake/Raptors”

Release Date: June 2, 2019
Price: $200

Controversy ruined what could’ve been seen as a victory lap for the artist and the brand alike. This was Drake’s name attached to a Jordan 4 Retro in Toronto’s team colors of black, purple and red. Leaked images generated a lot of chatter when people noticed Drake’s signature sketched below the Jumpman logo on the tongue tag, which was the only real distinction between it and what would become the retail version.

The shoe suffered the misfortune of Drake and Jordan Brand reportedly being on the outs and the Canadian superstar supposedly looking to jump ship to rival brand Adidas. That was until pesky Pusha T blew things up with a damaging diss song. The jig was up, the public knew too much about Drake’s business, and personal, dealings. It created a distraction around a release that should’ve been an easy layup.

The general release pair did eventually arrive in August 2018 before the version bearing Drake’s name arrived almost one year later in June 2019, in limited fashion, in celebration of the Raptors’ first NBA Championship.

Send me any Raptors related content (anything…please…things are slow…) -> [email protected]

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.