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Cranky Raptors just weren’t good enough long enough

Well, that certainly wasn’t nearly the best game the Raptors have played, they were just bad enough for just long enough that they couldn’t overcome their own ineptitude.

Gonna happen from time to time, too bad it happened against a team that was ripe for the picking, even with a big lead.

But it’s over, on to the next one and the ones after that.

There was this, though.

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THREE POINTERS                             

A rather cantankerous ending

I don’t think anything happened in the hallway between the two locker rooms between Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons when both were ejected in the dying seconds.

By the time we got there, though, there was a curtain pulled across the hallway where I’ve never seen one, Philly reporters were being ushered around a back way to the Sixers room – we were okay getting to our usual post-game spot – but the security folks were saying there was some water leak that caused the change.

Neither Lowry nor Simmons looked the worse for wear and the only thing I overheard was that any incident got stopped before it could happen.

But something sure could have gone on if you saw the look on their faces when they basically raced to the hallway after Simmons seemed to suggest “I’ll see you in the back.”

It was much ado about nothing, I presume, but there was malice aforethought in the immediate aftermath.

Lowry had the line of the night though that was in the gamer:

“I don’t know, I guess he think he’s somebody.”

It’s really too bad the teams don’t play each other again but all of a sudden a 2-7 first-round playoff series might have some juice to it.

A Lowry moment

How about this for fearlessly coming back?

It’s the third quarter, Lowry’s in among the big men trying to grab a defensive rebound when someone (it might have been Simmons) sticks a butt into him to ride him out and Lowry goes crashing to the court, a lot like that night in Brooklyn.

Am sure there were some gasps but he stayed with it, eventually got tied up in a jump ball situation with Simmons.

He lost it, of course, and ended up guarding Simmons in the restricted area. Kyle was hammering him to move him off the spot, Simmons threw a bit of an elbow trying to get better position and was Lowry had goaded, and muscled, him into an offensive foul.

That’s just hard playing, tough playing and Lowry’s level of fearlessness is at its apex.

And, who knows, maybe that’s where the jawing started that ended with the fourth quarter stuff.

Looking for some juice

Give Dwane Casey credit for trying whatever he needed to get some energy into a team that was really flat for most of the afternoon.

It wasn’t five minutes into the third quarter when they were down 19 and he’d had enough, getting Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl in the game way, way earlier than usual just to get some tempo into the affair and to be able to match the Sixers athleticism.

It worked to a degree – that’s the group along with Lowry and DeRozan plus some crazy good three-point shooting from Delon Wright – that got them back into the game.

Casey had done something close to the same thing in the second quarter, using Ibaka and Miles as the frontcourt against Amir Johnson and Dario Saric to try to create some sort of advantage.

I think more than any time in his tenure with Toronto, Casey has been more proactive this year at using different groups trying to force the issue rather than be reactive.

It goes entirely to the faith he has in his backups – oft-rewarded faith, I would say – but it also goes to his willingness to try different things and see what works.

I certainly can’t say I’ve ever been a big fan or anything but I do know of the Cranberries and the loss of Delores O’Riordon at 46 robs the world of a very, very fine voice.

Whaddya think the chances of the 10:25 a.m. flight leaving at 10:25 a.m. considering how backed up I bet Pearson is after some snow yesterday and with snow in the forecast here for today?

Wish me luck.

I heard there’s a pucks game tonight and it’s the first one in a week or so because the Leafs have been on something called “the bye week?”

What the hell is that?

Why in the world wouldn’t they just stretch out the season a bit better and use the five or six or seven days off in one stretch as a handful of two-day breaks when the season is in full swing.

I bet every coach would like that better rather than watching his guys go away for a week and then needing to catch them right up to speed as soon as it’s over with games still counting.

Seems to be trickeration to me. And quite silly.

But, pucks. I guess I just don’t get it.

Besides, they’ve got it easy compared to the NBA already. They started this year on Oct. 4 and even with the NBA stretching its schedule out but about two weeks, it still gives the hockey guys almost two weeks longer to play the same number of games.

Softies.

(I keed. A little)

Used to be the pucks started a month earlier than basketball and finished the same week, should have heard me howl about that back in the day.

Spent a couple of nights in Philly that included stops in a trio of spots that I know and did not have a single Yeungling. Victory Lager was more than a suitable substitute.

That’s how much I detest the president of the United States. The guy who runs the brewery supported him before the election and my vow to never let a very favourite beer pass over my lips again holds true to this day.

My own silent protest.


TORONTO STAR