That’s more like it. Toronto barely but finally picks up a win!
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
After going on a three game losing streak, their longest of the season Toronto can lift their heads as they go into Wednesday’s game against this sharp Clippers squad.
It’s not always rainbows and sunshine the season after winning a championship. Trades happen. Injuries occur and sometimes it just isn’t the same. That all happened to Toronto by the time the regular season rolled around but it didn’t really seem to affect Toronto as much as you think. Kawhi was gone, the Raptors all time assist leader Lowry were hurt and same with Ibaka. Thankfully for Toronto, there were more players than just those three who knew how to ball.
“Coincidentally” once Lowry returned, despite putting up good numbers that is when Toronto went on a three game losing funk. Monday night, the second night of a back to back, the reigning champs, I’ll never get tired of saying that, visiting the Holy Mecca for basketball also known as Chicago. They would face the Bulls who are quietly sitting in 11th in the East with a record 8-17. Toronto moved down one spot to 5th after that loss to Philly on Sunday. It’s funny, no matter what position you are in the league, you can still lose to a team who is under .500 percentage.
Toronto looked good in the first quarter. They were hitting the shots they were supposed, showcased great ball movement and lead most of the first half. An example of that ball movement was just over four minutes left on the clock. The ball started at the top of the arc with Gasol, then Lowry who swiftly passed it to Siakam who would hit a three ball and give Toronto a 6 pt lead. Siakam who is averaging 25 ppg finished the night with a game high 22 pts.
You cannot forget about Zach Lavine. He is the leader of this Bull’s team and without him, this may have been a runaway. Lavine pulls up from the top of the arc and hits a three ball of his own to tie the game at forty-nine. Chicago would be up 51-49 at the half. Lavine contributed 20 pts, 11 reb for the Bulls.
Fast forward to the last frame because that’s where the game gets juicy! Chiacgos whole roster stepped up. From Denzel Valentine (13 pts) draining a deep three all the way from Rockford (get what I did there) to rookie Daniel Gafford (14 pts) being on the receiving end of an alley-oop to extend the Bulls lead 80-73. Gafford would also do a very Ibaka-like swat on Serge himself later in the quarter.
Norm Powell would add to his 17 pts and would get the floater to go giving Toronto a two point lead with under two minutes to play. The last six seconds of regulation time was a little but of a scramble. Lavine carried the ball across the line and immediately drives to the net looking for a game winner. He does get the shot up over Gasol but misses. The other Raptors were pretty quiet as you could tell by the low scoring game. Ibaka had a good night with 11 pts & 14 reb. If they want to make it two in a row, they need to play better basketball. The Clippers come to town on Wednesday and are second in the west riding a two-game win streak.
Are you ready? Are you ready for Kawhi to return to the city/country who would die for him? I am and I cannot wait to see how he plays once back in this arena. Kawhi isn’t as hot as he was last season. When the Clippers played the Bucks on Friday (Clippers lost 119-91) he was throwing up bricks and not even contested shots. He’s not doing bad by any means, just not the Kawhi he was last season. Tip off will be at 7:00pm and if you cannot get tickets to the arena because you don’t want to take out a second mortgage, that’s okay. I’m sure there will be a lot of excitement in Jurassic Park.
Toronto 93-92 Chicago