Shooting guard snub
Much was made of the fact Draymond Green was snubbed out of an All-Star Game starting spot in the Western Conference because Kobe Bryant won the popular vote despite having a terrible statistical season on a bad team.
You could make an equally compelling argument that DeMar DeRozan should be starting in the backcourt for the Eastern Conference ahead of Dwyane Wade. DeRozan is playing better basketball on a better team.
DeRozan now has his second three-game streak of 30-point games after his 33-point outburst on Friday. His only weakness looked like a strength as he hit a career-high four three-pointers on five attempts. The USC product was decisively in attack mode all night and Wade was looking for help and constantly switching in his attempt to guard him. Meanwhile the Raptors tied their second-longest win streak in franchise history at seven straight. Miami has dropped four straight and seven of eight.
Lowry with love
Kyle Lowry is so presidential he can rally to get all-star votes at the polls when needed. Now the point guard politician is shaking hands and kissing babies in-game. While trying to save a ball from going out of bounds, Lowry hit a woman on the head in the front row. Lowry made up for it with a courtside kiss, drawing applause in the surrounding area.
Once Jose Calderon’s backup who faced indifference from the fan base, Lowry has morphed into a beloved Raptors star and company pitchman.
Forgive and don’t forget Bosh
Pre-game, Chris Bosh vocalized his hope not to be jeered but appreciated in Toronto. “I want to be well received in Toronto,” he said. The power forward went on to say, “Yeah, it matters. It was time out of your life. It’s literally blood, sweat and tears, and yeah, you have emotional ties.”
The crowd’s reaction to him isn’t near the vitriol Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady received, although there was still a slightly louder cheer when Bosh missed a shot in relation to his Heat teammates. Bosh represented the Raptors in five all-star games and is still the franchise leader in minutes, points, blocks and rebounds. He most likely will be back in Toronto in February as an all-star reserve.
Bosh left at a time where anyone else would probably have done the same thing. If there is any lasting negative sentiment towards him, which I doubt there is, it should be squashed at this point.
There was some speculation that because David Blatt was fired today, Dwane Casey would take his spot as coach of the East All-Stars by default. That was cleared up by the league and is not in fact the case.
Tyronn Lue will coach the East if the Cavs hang on to the top spot in the conference through Jan. 31. Dwane Casey has done an outstanding job this year and should be in the conversation for Coach of the Year. However, despite the awkward situation, the honour should still go to the Cavs’ staff that has its team sitting in first place. It would be great if Casey coaches at home in the All-Star Game but his team will have to earn it for him on the court.
Super stat – With a 30-11 record, the Cavaliers are the best team ever to fire their head coach mid-season. Before he was offered the head coach position in Cleveland, David Blatt was offered a lead assistant role on the staff Steve Kerr was assembling in Golden State. Less than two years later, Kerr returns to the first-place team in the West on the same day Blatt was fired from a team comfortably in first place in his conference.