If you are the Toronto Raptors (35-26), how can you afford not to sign Kyle Lowry this summer??
Lowry was Mr. Do-It-All once again on Sunday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves, recording his second triple-double of the season (and fifth of his career) and leading the Raps to a 111-104 road win. Lowry registered 20 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, accomplishing an achievement that T'Wolves star Kevin Love fell one assist short of.
When Lowry wasn't anchoring a potent Raps' offensive attack, several contributors stepped up in the scoring department. DeMar DeRozan once again led Toronto in scoring with 25 points on 8-17 shooting, while Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross and - "12 Deep" alert - Steve Novak added 15 points each.
The win put the club nine games over .500 for the first time since the division-winning 2006-07 season and secured - with 21 games to go, no less - their highest win total since 2010-11.
Its remarkable that Lowry only has five career triple-doubles, given that it feels like he's flirted with the statistical achievement on three times as many occasions in recent weeks. On this night, triple-double doesn't even fully convey the contributions on the part of Lowry. As part of his well-rounded night, he got to the line (9-10 free throws), got on the offensive glass (four offensive rebounds) and grabbed two steals. Not a bad effort!
Novak Boosts the Bench
Against the Sacramento Kings, it was a collective scoring effort that highlighted the "12 Deep" movement that the club has been espousing. Against Minnesota, Novak personified the mantra, getting minutes in place of an injured Patrick Patterson (more below) and delivering five three-pointers on six attempts. Not only did Novak help the club shoot 58% (14-24) from long range, but he also led a bench effort that saw the Raps outscore the T'Wolves' second unit 32-16.The Bad:
TwoPat Gets Infirmed
Patterson is out 7-10 days with nerve damage in his shoulder, an injury that will certainly test the big man depth for which Toronto has been lauded. Behind Patterson on the depth chart sits a trio of capable veterans in Novak, Tyler Hansbrough and Chuck Hayes. Its a nice group to have as insurance, but none of the three offer what Patterson gives the Raptors and none can be leaned upon in a crunch time role as Toronto leaned on TwoPat..
Wonder what the Timberwolves were thinking when they saw this tweet from Minnesota GOP representative Pat Garofalo.
If I'm Love, I'm getting out of dodge as soon as I can. Premier franchises, including the Los Angeles Lakers, are armed with cap room and anxiously awaiting his free agency window which opens after next season. And his current club is currently mired in the dreaded state of mediocrity, not good enough to get into the tough Western Conference playoff mix and not bad enough to be primed for a top pick in June's draft. Which is a problem for a team that lacks high end complimentary talent. Ricky Rubio is fun, but hasn't established himself as even an above average point guard, Nikola Pekovic is a nice piece but hardly a building block and guys like Chase Budinger and Shabazz Muhammad just aren't there.
Toronto visits Brooklyn on... okay, so that game is over and I didn't quite get this recap in as quickly as I would have liked. Check back later for my take on the Raps' (spoiler alert) 101-97 loss to the Nets.
37-14 this season