Title: LOWRY-LESS RAPTORS ARE SLIPPING AND SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS
Date: March 17, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I looked at what a players-only meeting says about the Raptors’ tenuous success with Kyle Lowry injured.
Russell Westbrook’s John Wick tour of the NBA claimed another victim on Thursday, as the Oklahoma City Thunder star bulldozed into—and through—the Air Canada Centre, sending the Toronto Raptors careening behind closed doors. After Westbrook’s latest triple-double concluded midway through the third quarter, game in hand, the Raptors listlessly played out the stretch run, ultimately falling 123-102 and leading head coach Dwane Casey to make a public statement of regret to the fan base.
“That exhibition of basketball was unacceptable,” he said, a full 38 minutes following the final buzzer. “I want to apologize to our fans, everybody, for the way we played tonight. The effort, the competitive spirit wasn’t there.”
Casey’s comments were delayed because the dispiriting loss was the impetus for a closed-doors meeting in the locker room. At first, only players were allowed in, with DeMar DeRozan revealing that multiple voices spoke up in what sounds like was a passionate session. Coaches filtered in later, and Casey made it clear that the staff will start searching for any combination of players “who are going to compete.”