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Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on the Raptors, who have decided that coach Dwane Casey is worth keeping around for the foreseeable future:

Giving Dwane Casey an extension was easy decision for Raptors

Masai Ujiri and Dwane Casey aren’t always in agreement, but if they were, it’s a good bet they wouldn’t have lasted so long together.

Ujiri, the Raptors’ president and general manager doesn’t want a yes-man as his head coach. Fortunately Casey is no yes-man.

The two paired up three years ago, Ujiri inheriting Casey from Bryan Colangelo of the previous regime.

He’s had a few chances to walk away from Casey but each and every time he has stayed with him.

The latest is a (finally) confirmed three-year deal that will pay Casey a well-earned $18 million over the length of the contract.

Ujiri made this decision before the playoffs started telling the media Casey was his coach going forward, so the extended playoff run had nothing to do with this.

DeMarre Carroll day-to-day with wrist injury

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday tests taken following Wednesday’s game on forward DeMarre Carroll’s left wrist were negative. Carroll left Game 5 versus Miami in the third quarter with a left wrist contusion.

He will be treated symptomatically and is questionable for Game 6 on Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Carroll has averaged 9.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 31.5 minutes in 12 playoff games this season. In five games versus the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinal, he has averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 35.7 minutes in five contests.

The Toronto Raptors announced yesterday that center Jonas Valanciunas will miss the remainder of the Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series versus Miami with a sprained right ankle.

This is a huge blow to the squad. Jonas has been one of their best performers this postseason.

Valanciunas sustained the injury during the third quarter of Saturday’s Game 3 in Miami. He has averaged 15.0 points, shooting .550 (61-111) from the field, with 12.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 28.5 minutes in 10 playoff games this season. In the series versus the Heat, he has averaged 18.3 points on .649 (24-37) percent from the floor, 12.7 rebounds, 1.33 blocks and 33.7 minutes in three contests.

Raptors win Game 3 vs Heat

Kyle Lowry got his game back at the perfect time for the Toronto Raptors.

And the Miami Heat are in all kinds of trouble.

Shaking off epic playoff struggles, Lowry scored 33 points - including five straight to break a late tie - in a duel with Dwyane Wade to lift the Raptors to a 95-91 victory over the Heat on Saturday night in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

The Raptors lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is in Miami on Monday night.

“I felt like it was just a matter of time,” Lowry said.

He was a career 34 percent playoff shooter coming into Saturday, and was shooting 31 percent in these playoffs. But he connected on 11 of 19 shots, 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

– AP

The Raptors and Pacers are tied 2-2 in their first round NBA playoff series. Raptors guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan haven’t been at their best, to put it lightly. Looking at this as Glass Half Full, things can only get better — right? We’ll see. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

Kyle Lowry can tell you to the third decimal what he is shooting in the playoffs.

And even if he’s not happy about that particular number he is not at liberty to grouse about it or let it affect him.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I’m not upset at how I’m playing,” Lowry said. “But I’ve got to be positive. At the end of the day my teammates bank on me to be positive and lead these guys, and that’s what I’m going to do no matter how I’m shooting the ball, I’ve got to make sure my teammates are positive and confident.”

And on that front he has been for the most part successful.

DeRozan and Lowry both know they need to shoot the ball better but getting frustrated over it is not something either will allow himself.

“No, not at all. I’m not frustrated,” DeRozan said Sunday following practice.

The Toronto Raptors’ Norman Powell and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in April.

Powell helped the Raptors to a 6-2 record behind averages of 15.3 points (tops in the Eastern Conference), 4.4 rebounds (seventh), 2.5 assists (tied-fifth) and 1.4 steals (third). He scored in double figures in six of eight games and shot 54.8 percent from the field. In Toronto’s regular-season finale, Powell scored a career-high 30 points on 12-of-18 shooting (including 5-of-6 from three-point range) and added nine rebounds and five assists during the Raptors’ 103-96 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Towns becomes the first player to sweep a season of Kia NBA Rookie of the Month awards since the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard in 2012-13. In April, Towns helped the Timberwolves to a 4-3 mark as he led all rookies in scoring (18.9 ppg), rebounding ( 11.7 rpg), blocks (1.7 bpg) and minutes (35.6 mpg). Towns capped his first NBA season with his 51st double-double (third most in the NBA) when he tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds during Minnesota’s 144-109 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on April 13.

Other nominees for the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month were Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay, New York’s Jerian Grant, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Utah’s Trey Lyles.

Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting on Raptors small forward DeMarre Carroll, who missed much of this season due to injury but is back in action and feels he’s ready for an increased role on the playoff-bound squad:

DeMarre Carroll feels he is ready for more minutes

He made his return in Atlanta last Thursday, was sat the next night at home against Indiana to avoid playing on back to back nights, will likely play Tuesday in the regular season home finale against Philadelphia and then likely sit again with another back-to-back to finish the season on Wednesday in Brooklyn.

Carroll likes where he is at having played 15 minutes in Atlanta and 17 in New York. He believes he is moving well and believes he is ready to ramp up the action even more, although that is not his call.

“It’s up to the medical staff and coach and Masai (Ujiri), so we’ll see,” Carroll said Monday following practice. “I’m just playing my role and whenever they give me the OK …”

As for his own review of his play, Carroll has been pretty happy.

Small forward DeMarre Carroll was supposed to be a big part of the Toronto Raptors this season, but he has played just 22 games, averaging 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists on 39% shooting. Developing chemistry on a new team can take time, so those numbers likely would have improved as the season went along. But it isn’t clear if the team will learn more about this until next season. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

Unclear if DeMarre Carroll will play again this season

The elephant in the room, where the Raptors are concerned, is the status of DeMarre Carroll.

The prized free agent signing, who is also the team’s highest-paid player, appeared close to a return a few weeks ago when he was driving to the hoop against assistant coaches and launching three-pointers. The next step was clearance for contact. But then all went dark. Carroll’s been in Atlanta tending to some personal matters (he is due back this week), the team has kept tight-lipped, but every indication from talking to various people is there has been some sort of set-back and his return this season is very much in doubt. Quietly, the team has taken the belief that he will need more time, and only a deep playoff run would let him return this season.

One thing that appears to be clear is that the plantar fasciitis Carroll had earlier this year made him compensate a bit and that led to the knee trouble that required surgery.

Raptors going for win No. 50

After dropping consecutive games to the Celtics and Rockets, the Raptors got back in the win column on Saturday against the Pelicans. Toronto’s 49th victory tied the franchise record for wins in a season, set in 2014-15. The first crack at 50 comes tonight when the Raptors host the streaking Thunder, which has won seven straight, including Saturday’s 111-92 win over the Spurs. Toronto (49-23) trails Cleveland (52-21) by 2.5 games for the top spot in the East, and has a six-game lead over the Hawks (44-30) for third place. The Raptors are one road victory shy of matching the franchise record (22), set in 2013-14 and matched last season. They play five of their remaining 10 games on the road.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

Raptors having excellent season

The Toronto Raptors (44-20) are closing in on the franchise’s first 50-win season and third consecutive trip to the playoffs. They are also within striking distance of the Cavaliers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Toronto trails Cleveland (47-18) by 2.5 games but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker after winning the season series 2-1. The Raptors have won nine of 11 and wrap up a seven-game homestand tonight against Chicago (7:30 p.m. ET) before playing 10 of 17 on the road to close the season. The Cavaliers have eight home and nine road contests remaining among their 17 games, beginning tonight at Utah (10:30 p.m., ESPN) in the finale of a four-game road trip.

Raptors sign Jason Thompson, release Anthony Bennett

The Toronto Raptors have signed NBA veteran power forward Jason Thompson.

To make room on the roster the Raptors released forward Anthony Bennett. Bennett appeared in 19 games, totaling 28 points, 23 rebounds and 84 minutes.

Thompson, 6-foot-11, 250 pounds, is in his eighth season. He has appeared in 569 career regular season games, averaging 9.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 25.5 minutes.

“We are pleased to add a player like Jason who has logged quality minutes in more than 500 career games,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri.

A first-round selection (12th overall) by Sacramento in 2008, Thompson spent seven seasons with the Kings before joining Golden State this season. His best statistical campaign came in 2009-10 when he averaged 12.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 31.4 minutes.

“We thank Anthony for his professionalism and for his service to our team and community,” said Ujiri. “We know he’s on his way to becoming an excellent NBA player but as we approach the end of the season Jason will provide us with a veteran presence that we need.”

Kyle Lowry scores 43 points vs Cavs

Friday night in Toronto, the Raptors beat the Cavaliers 99-97. Awesome in the win was Raptors guard Kyle Lowry: 15-of-20 shooting for 43 points, five rebounds, nine assists and four steals, plus the game-winning shot. Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Kyle Lowry scores 43 points vs Cavs

Lowry’s jumper with 3.8 seconds left over an outstretched Matthew Dellavedova gave the Raptors a 99-97 victory over the Cavaliers on Friday night, shaving the Cavs’ lead for the top seed in the conference to just two games and more importantly giving the Raptors the tiebreaker.

The Raptors won the season series 2-1.

The Cavs gave away leads of 12 and 14 points and lost for the second time in their last three games despite LeBron James playing the entire second half.
The Cavs had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but James’ 3-pointer missed everything.

Kevin Love’s initial inbounds pass was batted back toward him by Bismack Biyombo. Love narrowly got out of the way of the ball touching him, which would’ve given possession back to the Raptors. The Cavs were awarded the ball again after a lengthy review and Love quickly inbounded to James, who is shooting under 28 percent from 3-point range this season. James shot an airball from the top of the perimeter, which deftly summed up the Cavs’ evening.

Vince Carter isn’t ready to call it a career. Not today, at least.

No Vince Carter retirement announcement yet

Vince Carter sounds pretty confident this won’t be his last time on the court in Toronto.

Carter and a vastly different Memphis lineup than the one the league was seeing even three games ago, are in town to take on the Raptors Sunday and Carter is giving no indication that fans will be witnessing his Toronto swan song.

“Not now, not yet,” Carter said when asked if he goes into a game like Sunday’s thinking this might be his last time on this particular court.

“I just go year by year and listen to the body. Every now and then I’ll think about ‘When I do know (it’s time), how do I approach that?’ It’s just tough accepting it because I enjoy playing still. I think when I don’t enjoy playing I will definitely let it be known.”

– Toronto Sun

 

Raptors beat Magic in London

Thursday in London, the Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 106-103 in overtime. In the win, Kyle Lowry scored 24 (on just 5-20 shooting), and had eight rebounds and seven assists. Cory Joseph was great off the bench, shooting 9-of-11 for 19 points. In the loss, Victor Oladipo scored 27, and Evan Fournier had 21. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

A visit to the O2 just wouldn’t be right without overtime.

For the second time in three games here, the Raps found themselves providing a deserving English fan base a little more than they were actually entitled.

The last time it took triple overtime and it resulted in a loss to the then New Jersey Nets.

But this is a different Raptors team, a “relevant” team as Masai Ujiri likes to call them, and they proved their GM right with a professional overtime period that included timely shooting, some patient offence and some determined defence to pull out a 106-103 win over the Magic on Thursday.

The Magic had a match for the Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan backcourt but they didn’t have the bench support or the defence the Raptors brought with them across the Atlantic.

And by the slimmest of margins, the Raptors will head back across that ocean with a well-deserved win.

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

DeMarre Carroll undergoes knee surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday forward DeMarre Carroll had arthroscopic surgery this morning on his right knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Carroll’s status will be updated as appropriate.

Carroll sat out Monday’s game at Cleveland with a swollen right knee. He had played in the previous five contests after missing nine games (December 7-22) with a right knee contusion.

Carroll has averaged 11.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 31.9 minutes in 23 games. He had a season-high 21 points on two occasions: October 30 at Boston and November 22 at the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Raptors face the Brooklyn Nets tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center.

Jonas Valanciunas

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas has been cleared to return to practice following an examination this morning by Dr. Brent Graham at Toronto Western Hospital.

Valanciunas has been sidelined the past 15 games after he sustained a fractured fourth metacarpal in his left hand during the second quarter November 20 at the Los Angeles Lakers.

In his 14 starts prior to the injury, Valanciunas averaged 12.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 27.3 minutes. He posted season highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds in the season opener October 28 versus Indiana.

The Raptors return to action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. versus Dallas at Air Canada Centre (TSN1/TSN 1050 Toronto).

Anthony Bennett taking quick trip to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday forward Anthony Bennett has been assigned to their NBA Development League affiliate, Raptors 905. Bennett will play for Raptors 905 in its Sunday 2 p.m. tip against the Delaware 87ers.

He is expected to be recalled by the Raptors and available to play in their 6 p.m. game versus Sacramento at Air Canada Centre.

“Anthony came to us asking to use this double-header as an opportunity work on his game,” said Jeff Weltman, Raptors Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. “This is an example of how we envisioned using our D-League team to improve our players.”

Bennett has appeared in nine games with the Raptors this season, totaling 14 points and 15 rebounds in 48 minutes.

Raptors assign Norman Powell to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have assigned guard Norman Powell to Raptors 905, the NBA Development League affiliate of the Raptors. Powell is expected to be in uniform Saturday when Raptors 905 plays host to the Delaware 87ers at Hershey Centre in Mississauga (2 p.m. ET).

Powell has appeared in 12 games this season with the Raptors, averaging 1.4 points, 1.3 rebounds and 5.9 minutes. Powell was selected in the second round (46th overall) by Milwaukee in the 2015 NBA Draft. His draft rights were then traded by Milwaukee to Toronto along with a protected future first-round draft choice (originally belonging to the Los Angeles Clippers) for guard Greivis Vasquez.

Powell will remain on the Raptors’ roster and will be placed on the team’s inactive list.

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 7 through Sunday, Dec. 13.

DeRozan led the Raptors to a 4-0 week, averaging 24.0 points (third in the conference), 5.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 91.9 percent from the free throw line. DeRozan matched his career record, scoring 25-or-more points in three consecutive games, and led Toronto with a game-high 28 points against San Antonio on Dec. 9.

Durant led Oklahoma City to a 4-0 record behind averages of 27.3 points (third in the league), 8.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists (ninth in conference), and 1.8 steals. He shot 59.7 percent from the floor (fourth in the conference) while scoring 30 or more points in two games and was 26-of-27 (96.3 percent) from the foul line. Durant recorded his first triple-double of the season when he scored 25 points to go with 12 rebounds and 10 assists against Atlanta on Dec. 10. The next night, he scored 21 points, including the Thunder’s final 11, in a 94-90 road win over Utah.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, Chicago’s Pau Gasol, Cleveland’s LeBron James, L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

Raptors step up and beat Spurs

Wednesday night in Toronto the Raptors defended home court and beat the San Antonio Spurs 97-94. It was only the Spurs’ 5th loss of the season. In the win, DeMar DeRozan shot 10-15 for 28 points and six assists, while Kyle Lowry had 19 points and eight assists. Here’s the Toronto Star reporting:

It’s a dangerous game but a fun one, watching a team rise to the level of good opposition and sink to the level of bad.

It can’t be a lot of fun when they lose to supposedly inferior opposition but when it goes the other way, it can be an awfully good for their souls.

The Raptors, who typify that up-and-down existence like few teams in the NBA, did it again Wednesday, upsetting the San Antonio Spurs 97-94 at the Air Canada Centre, battling injuries and foul trouble with a patchwork rotation for a well-deserved wire-to-wire victory.

It was a gut-check win for the Raptors, now 14-9, against the 18-5 Spurs, who had won nine of 10 coming into the game.

It was sealed with fewer than 10 seconds left when DeMar DeRozan, capping perhaps his best game of the season, scooped up an offensive rebound of a Kyle Lowry miss and Toronto ahead by just three.

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