Dwane Casey led the Toronto Raptors into the playoffs consistently but could never defeat LeBron James. James migrated West, but Casey, despite winning coach of the year, didn’t get one more crack at a possible NBA Title run, instead being dismissed by the Raptors.
Tonight, he returns to a nation and franchise that embraced him but also discarded him when it was determined he wasn’t quite up to the task. Now he is the coach of the Detroit Pistons, a mediocre franchise, and he is facing his former team being led by his former top assistant, who seems to have not missed a beat.
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Ontario
Watch: FSD, SN1, NBA League Pass
The Toronto Raptors are way better than the Detroit Pistons
The Real Story
The most interesting thing tonight is actually Casey’s return to Toronto so here is an aggregation of what people are saying and writing:
It would not have cost Nurse much to take the L on this one, to say he and Casey were good colleagues but not close, and that he now regrets the manner of their parting – even if that isn’t true. No one needs to know the blow-by-blow of how it went down, but Casey’s the senior man. He has earned the concession of winning the argument.
Toronto wasn’t just a basketball team to Casey. It had become home, even as he went back to Seattle each summer. He had made many friends here — his family was grounded here, his kids played soccer with Kyle Lowry’s kids and he had built the kind of tight bonds with city and fans and media —which is highly unusual in professional sports at any time — so his firing seemed like the extended family was missing something.
The wins, the losses — they were one thing. Casey was like a part of us, a part of the town, a part of the story, a reach back in history to a time when the Raptors were an NBA embarrassment. He grew, they grew, and we grew alongside him. He and Ujiri fought through all that — not always together, management and coaches aren’t always together — not always on the same page, but fighting nonetheless. And for the most part, succeeding against everything but LeBron James.
“(Our relationship) changed a lot,” Lowry told reporters Tuesday. “It went from a guy who kind of wasn’t trusting in what I did, and me not trusting in what he wanted, and kind of us battling back and forth, to him being like, ‘Hey listen, I believe in what you can do, you show me what you can do,’ and me saying ‘All right, if you show me that and I’ve showed you what I can do, I’ll listen to you more and we’ll have a good relationship.’
“I think Dwane has reinvented himself as a basketball coach as much an anybody,” Spoelstra said. “It’s a great example. It’s inspiring for me as a younger coach. He came in and was known as a zone coach, and his last few Toronto teams were really tough, mano-a-mano, 5-on-5 defensive teams. Then, last year, they really incorporated the 3-ball, playing with a little more space. He did what they needed to take another step for that franchise. And what happened? He got fired for it. He really did a tremendous job and won the East.
“There’s a guy that got a lot of people fired.”
Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Glenn Robinson III, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
3-point attempts for each team? 3-pointers made for each team?