Kyle Lowry was on the bench with a sprained ankle yesterday while his team got punted out of the playoffs by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second consecutive season.
Coach Dwane Casey also wondered what might have been.
Ideally, Tucker would be starting at small forward, sliding over to power forward when small ball eventually kicks in during games.
Ideally, the team would move on without DeMarre Carroll, a prideful veteran who has been robbed of his potential in the wake of injuries.
Check back next Tuesday where we’ll take a look at how our levels break down, the puzzles kids will face in the game and how we use letters as a narrative device. He’s carrying this team. and everybody’s chipping in and trying to help him as much as possible.
Toronto has Ibaka’s Bird rights and will have the capability to re-sign him along with Lowry. “We could say that all day and all the time, but we didn’t. Be it would be fun to go even further next season”. “And whatever it takes to beat the best, that’s what I’ve gotta do”.
Here’s one: How do you measure 82 games of regular season success vs. a humbling playoff exit? And if Tucker (an unrestricted free agent, too) is your new defensive stopper, how do you deal with the now burdensome contract of DeMarre Carroll? “This is definitely an option of pursuing and seeing if it will work”.
The problem is finding a team to take Valanciunas.
It’s hard to gauge, he added, how successful the team might have been had Lowry had more time to gel with the newcomers.
On the series as a whole, Cleveland shot 61-for-131 (46.6%) from beyond the arc, while Toronto went just 27-for-90 (30.0%).
“If you’re that franchise’s guy, and you’re the guy that they’ve been rolling with, and you’ve given that franchise everything you have, yeah, I think [contract negotiations] should be easy.”
“I like the city, I like the fans”.
If this was the last game Tucker ever plays in a Raptors uniform (please no), it will stand as his best. However, from there, the Cavs finished the quarter with a 15-5 run and the two teams were tied at 28 after one quarter.
“Man, it sucked”, he said.
That left many debating the biggest topic leading into the playoffs: Would LeBron James and the Cavs be able to “flip the switch” and start dominating when it matters most after two months of looking mediocre and vulnerable? That is a huge compliment to the impact of James not a shot at a 50+ win Toronto team.
His primary focus this summer is on his kids.
For much of the first quarter the Raptors were in the rare position of owning a lead that got up to as many as 11, only to see the Cavs get back on even terms as they went into the second quarter.
Lowry led the Raptors past Milwaukee in the opening round of the playoffs and was Toronto’s best player in Games 1 and 2 against Cleveland.
Casey said: “It’s tough because we know we can play better than we did in the first two games, and we didn’t”. But we knew once we got healthy we can go on runs like this, and get our rotations set, and lock in defensively and do some things defensively that we knew we’re capable of doing.