If the NBA returns this season, it will do so without fans. The games will be played in a “bubble” — in Las Vegas or Orlando — where players, their families, plus coaches, trainers, and more will live, eat, work, and sleep. The games will be broadcast, but there will be no crowds, no fans in attendance.
“I’ve been dying to answer this question… When you toss that ball up and competition starts, and you’re in battle, how often do you worry about the fans? Yes, you hear them cheering, and booing you, I get that. But you’re in competition, you’re in battle. You should be focused on the guy in front of you, or the task at hand.”
As another coach told me, most of the time players are playing with no fans in the crowd — every practice, every scrimmage, every summer run in the gym at UCLA or in Manhattan. Players are used to this, they will adapt very quickly, the coach said. Carter echoed that same point.
With the 25th season of Toronto Raptors basketball on hold indefinitely, Postmedia is turning back the clock to examine the preceding 24 years, which culminated with a championship many thought the franchise would never deliver for its loyal fans. Read More
(12-36) ATLANTA HAWKS, 114 VS. (33-14) TORONTO RAPTORS, 130 SCOTIABANK ARENA TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2020
TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES
NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)
What did you think of Kyle Lowry, and him becoming the franchise all-time assist leader? Well, I thought it was good. I didn’t have any idea of what the heck was going on, and then I thought when he got to number nine or whatever it was to get him there, somebody said something, all-time assists. It’s cool. Been here a long time and he’s put some numbers and kind of things start happening when you are really good player and play you play in the same place for a number of years.
On do you think going up against a marquee young point guard gives Kyle a little bit more of an edge? No, I just think he’s just really enjoys his teammates, and competing and playing. But just isn’t too many times out there when he doesn’t really like show that he loves to play ball, loves the game and all that stuff. That’s all I think it is, he just kind of goes out there. He was having more fun than most guys were tonight out there, which was good.
Do you have an update on Marc (Gasol)? Did OG (Anunoby) get banged up as well? Looked like it, looked like OG hurt his shoulder a little bit there at the end. Marc was nothing, just him getting a little tight as he left the floor. However, we’ll have to wait until we get it checked out.
KYLE LOWRY (12 points, 11 assist, eight rebounds)
On passing Jose Calderon as franchise assist leader… To pass a guy like Jose means a tremendous amount. He was one of the best players in the history, one of the best passers this organization has ever had, and one of the greatest people ever. It means a lot for me to pass him, but to be here and to do it this long and do it for this franchise means the world.
On the bench reaction to reaching the record… I love them so much. My teammates are the reason I’m able to do this stuff. I wouldn’t be here without them. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here without these coaches, the organization, I wouldn’t be here without DeMar (DeRozan). I wouldn’t be here without my friends, guys who have been here before me, Vince (Carter), yeah, I’m just really happy right now.
What did Vince Carter say to you? He’s proud of me. I said I wanted to get the record today while he was here. He didn’t start this franchise, but he put it on the map and I wanted to do it while he was in this building. Me and Vince are close friends and I wanted to do it tonight in front of him and I know he’s happy for me.
On the passing of Kobe Bryant… It’s been tough. Honestly, whenever you turn the news on that’s how you know the man was a world icon. …it’s hard to look at it and it’s just hard to know what his family is possibly going through, and it’s tough. I mean every time you think about it you get sad and it sucks because him being him, but the others lost in that and the young children lost in that. They hadn’t even had a chance to live their life and the biggest thing is his family, his kids won’t be able to say ‘dad, can you pick me up’, that’s the stuff that just hurts me.
FRED VANVLEET (19 points, three assists)
On seeing Kyle Lowry become franchise leader in assists… It’s special, man. I think we all should be in the mood of giving people their flowers while we can and it’s amazing. It’s a fantastic accomplishment for him, his career trajectory and the Raptors history here to not have really that many long tenure guys, for him to still be here, still be kicking, still be playing at a high level is pretty special. So we gave him some crap for it, it took too long for him to get it. He definitely went out of his way to make sure he got it at home, so it’s pretty cool for him and obviously we are all happy for him.
Are kids from this generation now looking at Kyle Lowry like they did with Vince Carter? When you think about Raptors now for young kids, you think probably DeMar (DeRozan) and Kyle for sure and so like I said two – Vince as well – staples of a franchise and this franchise means so much to the game of basketball in Canada as a whole, so they are kind of transcending just the sport and definitely mean a lot to the culture of the game and we should appreciate them for sure.
PASCAL SIAKAM (19 points, three assists)
On Kyle setting franchise assists record… It’s great to be part of moments like that, being number one in assists. I mean the work he’s able to do here and seeing all the struggle and to be able to bring this team to wins and winning the championship, now being the leader in assists is an incredible achievement and I’m happy for him. He’s my brother, someone that took me under his wings since I got here and I just want to show my support and I’m really proud of him.
ATLANTA HAWKS QUOTES
LLOYD PIERCE (HEAD COACH)
On tonight’s game… It’s a tough loss, because it was a very winnable game for us and I think the easy answer is we missed a lot of wide-open shots that we take every night we step out on the court. The reality is, we didn’t change the game defensively and physicality- wise because we weren’t making shots. We let our offence really dictate our energy, our tempo, and our pace and our mood. Whereas, I thought we were in the game. It was 12 or 14 point game for the most of it and we had some clean looks. The opportunity for us defensively to try and get some stops, no pressure on the ball, (and) tried to get back in transition. We could have made this game a little bit different with the defensive intensity and we lacked that early because the shots weren’t falling.
Did the Raptors set a tone with their defence in the first quarter? No. You know, again, we had 28 assists in this game and we were 12-for-47 from three and I think we should have shot 60 3s, and I think we should’ve got to the rim a lot more as a result of closeouts, and being able to attack. We turned the ball over early and we got our shots blocked. At the end of the first quarter, it was six turnovers, I believe, and five blocked shots, nine turnovers at halftime and five blocked shots. That’s a lot in a game where they are giving us a lot of open 3s. I didn’t think they took anything away from us. They were giving us a lot of 3s. We just didn’t have that aggression, that intensity offensively and it affected us because we were looking for shots to go in the basket to give us our mojo and our energy and that’s the frustrating part.
On Kyle Lowry… He’s a valuable player in a non-statistical way. I think a lot of times, at the end of games, you’re always looking at stats and you’re always looking at numbers, and you’re always looking at plus-minus and things like that. You take any player out of the game, and someone is going to fill the stat sheet in some way, some form, somehow. He’s the guy when you take away the stat sheet, you watch the film, it’s the transition play he made on Jeff (Teague) just to get down there and not give up on the play and Jeff misses a layup. Those things don’t show up, but it’s the effort, it’s the will, it’s the winning play mentality that he has. But, you know, the assists – he’s a natural point guard. It’s just part of his longevity and playing here and being a facilitator and a team guy, but it’s the other stuff that’s valuable.
VINCE CARTER (10 points, five rebounds, two assists, two steals)
On Kyle Lowry becoming the franchise all-time leader in assists… He said he was trying to make sure he got it done today. Kyle is a great guy, a great friend, somebody I talk to frequently, and we’re golf buddies, so we play a lot of golf in the summer when we can. All throughout the season we keep in touch and it’s just been a pretty cool relationship. He was the opponent I was darn happy to see.
Have you gotten used to getting a warm reception here now? Yes, it’s a cool feeling, you know, thanks to a lot of people. It’s a great feeling. It really is.
How did the scoring feel at the start? I was just happy to see a few shots go. Just trying to play my game (and) taking what’s there. I hadn’t been shooting the ball very well, so it was more so just having fun and making a dang old shot.
Was there any extra emotion with the ovation you got and the video tribute? No, I was trying to save it all for the next time because I know the next time is the final time. But at the same time, it helps that I missed the first couple seconds, to be honest with you, because like I said, every time you see it, you take a trip down memory lane. Obviously, all the other arenas where I’ve seen old Raptor clips has been cool, but when you see those clips and you’re actually in this building and you recall moments, situations, spots on the floor, how plays evolved, you know. I remember those things and it’s always more special when you’re actually right here in the building.