Raptors Report! Toronto Struggles Despite Lowry's Scorching-Hot Play
Lowry is Hitting Peak Form Amidst Mixed Results
DeMar DeRozan may have won Eastern Conference Player of the Week honours but Kyle Lowry wasn't far behind in matching his fellow All-Star's numbers. The three-time All-Star is averaging 15.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 7 assists with a PIE of 14.2 in 32.3 minutes through 19 games. Lowry is entering MVP form and a closer inspection of his last 10 games reveals just how hot he's been.
In his last ten games, Lowry is averaging 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.4 assists on 49.15 per cent shooting including an impressive 42.7 per cent from deep. Lowry recorded a double-double in five of his last six games and flirted with a triple-double a handful of times. The Raptors' starting point guard is back but despite his productivity, the Raptors have failed to find consistency though they won seven of ten games during this span.
It's hard to blame Lowry or single out a Raptor although the losses to New York and Indiana revealed an obvious symptom: third quarter performance (or lack thereof). In these losses, the Raptors were outscored by a combined 42 points in the third including a season-worst 31-point differential in New York, which saw the Raptors only hit one field goal and struggle to score 10 points.
Third periods have ailed the franchise ever since the days of Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani and despite a significantly better team, the Raptors still start sluggishly during the third. On the flipside, the Raptors start quickly on these occasions. Until Toronto can play consistently through all four periods and keep the pedal to the metal, issues will persist.
But let's hear it for Lowry who is still just hitting his stride.
Raptors Salvage Road Trip With Blowout Win over Atlanta
Toronto closed out their three-game road trip by slapping the Atlanta Hawks out of their own buildings. The Hawks are the NBA's second-worst team but the Raptors showed no mercy going up as much as 40 points despite only getting two points from DeRozan. The game was over by halftime with the Raptors being up 68-39. Toronto shot 54.8 per cent from the field and 40.6 per cent from deep.
The Raptors' bench scored half of the team's total with 56 points led by 17 points from Norm Powell. Pascal Siakam added 13 points and was a game-best +26 while Jako Poeltl contributed 14 points and seven rebounds. The three combined to shoot 20 of 31 for a whopping 64.52 per cent.
It would be nice if the Raptors could get this kind of production from the bench even if it isn't against a lottery-designated team like Atlanta. Powell has flourished as a bench player averaging 14.7 points on 51.5 per cent shooting and 46.7 from three since returning from injury compared to 8.3 points on 40.9 field goal per cent and 30.8 three-point per cent as a starter in 12 games.
Toronto Raptors 2017-18 Season Outlook
Thanks to the Raptors' losses to New York and Indiana, Toronto has dropped to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings behind Cleveland who have won seven-in-a-row.
The Raptors have a 6-4 conference record. They are still second in the Atlantic Division but are just 0.5 games ahead of Philadelphia. They have a 2-2 division record. Toronto gets a rare three-day break before returning home for three-game series.
Despite their inconsistency, the Raptors remain a profitable NBA team especially for diehard fans who stay faithful and do their homework. Canadian sportsbooks offer solid lines on the Raptors and other Canadian teams from the NHL to MLS. Sign up bonuses are offered as a welcome gift.
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