McGuire to sub in for injury-depleted Raptors
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
|It sounds like Dominic McGuire will be stepping in for a banged-up Raptors squad against the tough Utah Jazz on Monday night at the ACC. (Reuters)
TORONTO - The end of the weekend failed to bring any clarity on the injury front for the Raptors.
Top player Kyle Lowry remains sidelined with an ankle sprain and will undergo an MRI shortly.
Starting small forward Landry Fields practiced his shooting on Sunday and is also due for tests to determine what is wrong with his hand. His replacement, Alan Anderson, was hobbling around in a boot and on crutches, with what appears to be a serious foot injury.
It sounds like Dominic McGuire will be the next man up to bat at the position, stepping in for a banged-up squad against the tough Utah Jazz on Monday night at the ACC.
That’s certainly the way head coach Dwane Casey made it seem on Sunday following a light practice.
“I don’t know yet, we’re still searching. We have to be creative … Dom has been in the mix for a while, so he’s probably a little more in tune with what’s going on,” Casey said.
McGuire is Toronto’s top perimeter defender, but is among its most limited offensive players.
Still, though not a shooter, McGuire is a talented ball-handler who has some creativity to his game. Casey believes if McGuire handles some of the set-up duties, John Lucas III, in a horrible slump to start the season (just two made baskets), might find his game.
“I’m very comfortable (with McGuire’s ball-handling). He’s going to have to help out,” Casey said.
“He did it in Golden State (where he was a favourite of head coach Mark Jackson, who lamented his departure), he did it before, he did it in exhibition. He’s just got to be ready.”
The absence of Lowry has had a profound effect on the Raptors, 0-3 since he’s been out of the lineup.
“It’s real tough. Kyle was playing at an all-star level, so whenever you lose that on any team that’s going to hurt,” Ed Davis said.
DeMar DeRozan, who has picked up some of the slack with Lowry out, says the team needs to get mentally tougher and also can’t use his absence as an excuse to lay down.
“We just have to pull it together and understand that we don’t have him right now. Find other ways to win, find other ways to get stops, that’s what it’s all about,” DeRozan said.
“We let one mistake get us down. One missed shot, one missed defensive coverage gets us down … and next thing you know we’re down 10, 13 points, fighting our way back,” he said.
“We just have to stay focused mentally for 48 minutes. We’ve got to stay positive and understand we’re just six games in, we’re not far away or nothing. Two or three wins and we’re right back where we need to be.”
Beating Utah minus Lowry and Fields, most likely, won’t be easy.
In Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap, Utah has two superb, hefty frontcourt options to punish opponents. Derrick Favors is coming into his own as well and Marvin Williams provides more size at small forward.
Casey said he “won’t shelter” rookie Jonas Valanciunas against Utah’s bigs. Valanciunas will be asked to battle with the stars.
Davis said while Utah’s big men provide problems, it isn’t all about the visitors.
“They have to matchup too. (Andrea Bargnani) is probably one of the toughest matchups in the NBA. Him and Dirk, so we have to adjust to them, but they have to adjust to us,” Davis said.
Casey said he can’t overplay Bargnani, DeRozan and Jose Calderon even though he has a thin bench at the moment, so it will be all hands on deck against the Jazz.
Everybody on the roster is going to have to pitch in to hold the fort until the doctors shed light on the injury situation.