In terms of luck in the injury department on their own roster, the Raptors are owed a little.
But they’ve had more than their fair share of injury luck when it comes to opponents.
Yesterday’s game, with the Kings playing without Tyreke Evans, marked at least the ninth time this year the Raps have come into a game and discovered one or more of its opponent’s marquee players wouldn’t be suiting up.
The list of opponents who’ve missed the Raptors this season would fill out a pretty decent all-star game.
On that list are Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett (twice), Rajon Rondo, Dirk Nowitzki, John Wall, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony and now Evans.
In those games, the Raptors were 4-4.
Jay Triano has done his own juggling act when it comes to injuries but the argument can be made that none of the Raptors who’ve missed games this year, with the possible exception of Andrea Bargnani, are in this class.
It’s not often that the Raptors streak of now 979 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer gets dwarfed by another streak, but that was the case Sunday afternoon.
And it was a 71-year-old who doesn’t even play the game who did it.
Dick Bavetta, just over a month after celebrating his 71st birthday, was officiating his 2,463rd consecutive game.
Now that’s a streak.
And like any streak, Bavetta has had to endure plenty of his own discomfort to keep it going.
There was the time Raptor guard Jalen Rose took a swing at Patrick Ewing, somehow missed, but landed his shot directly on the nose of Bavetta breaking it.
Bavetta didn’t miss a game.
You can argue the merits of having a 71-year-old overseeing a game as physical and as fast as NBA basketball, but you have to respect what the man has accomplished.
QUITE THE START
The Raptors brought their A-shooting game, hitting the first 10 shots of the afternoon before they finally missed as Linas Kleiza’s 15-footer with Francisco Garcia in his face missed the mark.
Normally that would be something to get excited about, but even with that stellar start the Raps were only up by three points as the visiting Kings came out of the gate shooting well over 60%.
The 10-for-10 to start the game isn’t an NBA first but it’s a rarity.
The last time it was done in the NBA came with the Raptors on the visiting end of a hot-shooting Houston team March 1 of last season.
The Raptors can’t say this in many games, but it appears they got through Sunday’s win without any new injuries and possibly without aggravating any existing one’s.
Jerryd Bayless, who based on a conversation with reporters on Saturday at practice looked like a very good bet to miss another game, wound up playing just under 15 minutes.
While he still felt discomfort from the sprained left ankle, he got through the game without re-spraining or going over on it, which is an improvement over the past few times when he has gone right over on the same ankle trying to play through the pain.
After the game, Bayless said he thought he had turned a corner of sorts Sunday and doesn’t expect to miss any more time with the ankle — as long as he doesn’t re-sprain it again, of course.
Reggie Evans is now five weeks into what was expected to be an eight-week absence and, according to the man himself, is progressing nicely. “No more walking boot, no more crutches, I’m doing a lot of walking drills and the X-rays I took were good this week. Each week has been progress,” Evans said.
He has next month circled as a likely return date.
A LITTLE PEEVED
DeMar DeRozan isn’t the only one questioning his own exclusive from the dunk contest this year. “I thought they would at least ask or something,” DeRozan said. “Even Paul Pierce (in Boston on Friday) wanted to know why I wasn’t in it with the game at home (in Los Angeles). I was thinking the same thing.”
DeRozan also heard from Shaquille O’Neal, who was equally surprised about his exclusion.
There’s always the chance of being an injury replacement — Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings, who’s to be in it, is still out, having broken a bone in his foot — but DeRozan hasn’t heard anything from his friend Jennings or anyone else in that regard.
NOT A WIN, BUT NOT BAD
Kings head coach Paul Westphal was without his marquee player in Evans, so even in the loss he found plenty to be happy about Sunday afternoon.
“Overall analysis, I thought our team gave a great effort,” Westphal said. “We out-rebounded them, we had nine turnovers and we got to the line 34 times. We held together down the stretch. I thought offensively we missed some good-looking shots. They made theirs and that’s the difference.
“Except for the fact that we lost, I thought this was a good way to start the trip. We played well and played together and, without Tyreke (Evans), it was nice to see.”