8. A night of highs and lows in New Orleans
The Raptors’ Nov. 8 clash with the New Orleans Pelicans did not get off to a favourable start. On the way down with an offensive rebound, Kyle Lowry injured his thumb.
Always the epitome of toughness, Lowry tried to play through the ailment but was taken out after 16 minutes of action. X-rays would later reveal a fracture.
All told, Lowry would miss 11 games with the injury. Again, however, with the clarity of hindsight, Lowry’s injury may have given players normally in his shadow the minutes that they needed to become confident in their games and establish themselves as bench and fringe starter options.
There was some good news on the night, however. Pascal Siakam dropped 44 points on the Pelicans, matching a career-high and announcing himself to the league as a bona fide superstar. For the three seasons previous, Siakam had to labour underneath DeRozan and, most recently, Kawhi Leonard. Now, with this effort in New Orleans, Siakam told the world and his teammates that he was ready to lead.
While the team’s emotional leader went down on the night, its leader in production stepped up, and filled the void quite admirably.