The biggest news from Tuesday may have happened off the court. Prior to playing the Chicago Bulls, the Toronto Raptors traded Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for Serge Ibaka.
Playing in what will be one of the last games without Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas nearly posted a double-double with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Casey wasn’t sure if Ibaka would join the team before the All-Star Break so Valanciunas might have one more game sans-Ibaka (Wednesday night), but I expect his numbers to take a hit playing alongside Ibaka. Both guys should still be valuable so I wouldn’t even think about dropping either guy.
The biggest beneficiary of the trade is Norman Powell, who will see an increase in production with Ross gone. Powell led the Raptors in scoring off the bench versus the Bulls with 13 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals.
The trade couldn’t have happened quickly enough. DeMar DeRozan had an off night, scoring 18 points (5-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, as the Raptors dropped their 11th game in the last 15. To add insult to injury, the Bulls weren’t even at full strength, with Dwyane Wade (wrist) and Nikola Mirotic (back spasms) sitting.
Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for the Raptors, posting 22 points (8-17 FG, 4-11 3PT FG), 4 assists, and 4 threes.
Now here’s the rest of this Valentine’s Day edition of the Daily Notes:
Jimmy Butler – After sitting Sunday’s game, Butler returned to shoot a horrific 2-10 from the field. Fortunately, he made up for it by going 15-19 from the line and adding 12 assists and 4 steals. With Wade ailing, Butler may be in line for another big workload on Thursday.
Doug McDermott – McBuckets led the way off the bench, scoring 20 points (8-13 FG, 2-4 3PT) and grabbing 5 rebounds.
Rajon Rondo – Some of McDermott’s shooting must have worn off on Rondo, who hit both 3-point attempts on his way to posting a 12/3/4 line. Michael Carter-Williams (8/5/3 line) still started over him, but Rondo has posted usable numbers over the last 5 games.
Channing Frye – The other big off the court news from Tuesday was the announcement that Kevin Love would be out for 6 weeks, after having surgery on his left knee. Frye replaced Love in the starting lineup and took full advantage, blasting the T-Wolves for 21 points (4-11 3PT FG), 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Frye becomes must own, while Love won’t be back until fantasy playoffs at the earliest making him a possible drop candidate for shallow leagues.
Tristan Thompson – TT did his usual dirty work with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Kyrie Irving – Irving didn’t quite have his stroke (10-27 FG, 2-10 3PT FG), but still managed 25 points and 7 assists.
Derrick Williams – Williams also benefitted from the Love injury, scoring 13 points and grabbing 6 rebounds off the bench. He’s received praise from James and is a guy to monitor in Cleveland, if they decide to extend his 10-day contract for the rest of the season.
Andrew Wiggins – The bounce pass between the legs was the only negative about Wiggins’ game, as he scored 41 points in 41 minutes, including a very impressive three as the buzzer sounded in the 3rd:
Gorgui Dieng – Dieng collected back-to-back double-doubles with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 1 three.
Karl-Anthony Towns – KAT backed up Wiggins with 26 points of his own. He also added 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block.
Ricky Rubio – Rubio continues to rack up the double-digit assists in the New Year. He collected 16 dimes, 5 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals on Tuesday. It was his 12th double-digit assist game in 22 2017 games.
Darren Collison – Coming off of three 20-point games, Collison added 13 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds in 40 minutes.
Lou Williams – Williams tried to single-handedly lead a Lakers’ comeback, scoring 19 of his 29 points in the 4th quarter, but missed a potential game-winning three at the buzzer. He added 5 assists, 2 steals, and 4 threes off the bench.
Julius Randle – Randle contributed 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists, before both he and D’Angelo Russell (8 points) were benched in the 4th quarter. Luke Walton said after the game that “They earn that chance” to play in the 4th.