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An early promising sign for the Raptors


A handful of little things because it was a long day and then a long night and I’m tired.

It’s way too early to make any definitive statements about the Raptors – there are still four pre-season games to go and nearly three weeks until the real stuff starts – but there is one interesting trend emerging.

Kyle Lowry’s looking very good.

I only saw snippets of Thursday’s 105-97 win over the Lakers out in California but Lowry finished with 25 points, was quick and mobile, seemingly exactly the same as he was last Sunday in Vancouver.

That’s going to be huge for the Raptors because he is one of their most important players and you all saw what happened last season when he got worn down and his play fell off:

Basically it was disaster.

I know that he came in with a bit of a chip on his shoulder –and lot of weight off his middle – and he’s using that to power his game.

If that’s what it takes to get him motivated, that fine edge between a bit of anger and the necessary determination, I would think that Raptors would be ticking him off as much as they can because with the changes to the roster, they’re going to need him to perhaps do a bit more scoring and definitely need him to defend better.

Keeping opponents in front of them was one of the major failings of the Raptors guards last season and a lighter, more determined Lowry can absolutely improve in that area.

Like we said, a couple pre-season games – Lowry at out the second one, you recall – is not a good sample size but at least the early returns are good.

But it’s funny in a way, the complete lack of major interest in this team this far. I’m sure it’s got to do with the Blue Jays and the intense attention they’ve commanded since about the start of September but maybe it’s more.

Maybe the regular season success and post-season failure of he last two years has created a complete “let’s see how it turns out when it starts for real” atmosphere among fans.

Maybe the fact there are no real huge stories so far – a handful of new guys but none who you’d call a “star” that just means an already good team is going to be better but without having made a huge splash.

Maybe it’s just that it’s so early and training camp and the pre-season are too damn long that it’s getting harder each year for fans to muster a month of enthusiasm surrounding practice games.

Which do you think?

Would have been 75 years old today and if this isn’t right at the top of the list of best lyrics ever written, you need to revise the list.

Mail, please.

Not an awful lot there and I’m not sure if we’ll do one each day of the weekend or just one on Sunday – it may depend on how hard this afternoon is – but we need more questions regardless.

Get over to askdoug@thestar.ca and let me know what’s on your mind.

So, what’s big about Thanksgiving weekend for everyone?

We know Victoria Day signals the unofficial start of summer and that Canada Day celebrates us and Labour Day signals the end of summer.

What’s Thanksgiving?

(Aside, of course, from making sure you take time at some point on the weekend to realize how many wonderfully great people you have in your life)

Is it a big turkey dinner weekend. Just a nice break to have a Monday off? One of the more blah holidays of the year?

And if I’m planning to make a late-ish dinner on Sunday after various work obligations, what do I make?

All suggestions welcome.

Well, the air kind of went out of the Blue Jays bubble a bit yesterday, didn’t it?

It was – and this is not hyperbole at all – the most anticipated baseball game in town in more than 20 years and having Donaldson get conked on the head, Bautista grabbing his hamstring and Price looking more ordinary than he had since he got to Toronto sure took the steam out of the day.

But I would suggest they’ve got the perfect kid going today because I don’t think anything fazes Stroman and something like having to save the season with one start won’t get to him at all.

Funny, though, isn’t it?

A basic rookie who wasn’t even supposed to pitch this year is now charged with salvaging the team’s first playoff series in 22 years.

That’s a ton of pressure and I fully expect he’ll handle it like he’s handled everything since he blew his knee out way back in the spring.

Of course, it’s not just him – hitters gotta hit and fielders gotta field – but it does start with the pitcher and do you all share my confidence that he’ll get it done?

Oh, and one other thing.

I’m sure it was heartwarming for fans to hear that Donaldson passed a concussion test after he came out of the game yesterday but if anyone in sports world knows that passing one day doesn’t necessarily mean passing the next, it’s folks who follow Toronto sports.

I swear I didn’t realize until late last night – and only because I asked a buddy what I was watching on the TV highlights – that the President’s Cup golf thing is going on.

I honestly didn’t know and there’s an event that was once pretty big on the sports calendar that has absolutely dropped off a cliff, hasn’t it?

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