Lowry not fretting over thumb pain as Game 5 nears
NBA.com Global on May 24, 2019 07:47 AM
FILE - TORONTO, CANADA - NOVEMBER 29: Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors is introduced before the game against the Golden State Warriors on November 29, 2018 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
The Toronto Raptors have forged a tie in the Eastern Conference finals with the Milwaukee Bucks behind back-to-back solid performances from standouts Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. Both players, however, have been hobbled a bit by injury as Game 5 of the series looms.
Leonard scored 36 points in 52 minutes in a double-overtime win in Game 3 on Sunday (Monday, PHL time) despite dealing with leg soreness. Time and again, he came up with clutch plays in that victory, but was a little less impactful in Game 4. Although Leonard finished with 19 points in 34 minutes, he appeared to hobble at times throughout that game.
As for Lowry, he scored 12 of Toronto's first 17 points and finished with 25 points overall, going 10-for-10 at the free-throw line. On Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time), Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Lowry is definitely playing through pain in this series, while Leonard is apparently doing better than he appears to be.
Lowry has been battling a left thumb injury that he suffered in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers. He has been wearing a specially designed glove that looks like an oven mitt to try and help speed up his healing process. Nurse said Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) that Lowry is admittedly still playing through some pain.
When asked at Thursday's (Friday, PHL time) shootaround about any improvement in his thumb, Lowry flatly said, "no."
"I will not be able to get it taken care of until after the season is over," Lowry said. "It hurts ... it's pretty bad. We've been taking things to make sure that during the game we try to limit the pain as much as possible during the games but, it is what it is.
"It hurts on everything. Every time I use this hand, it hurts. But it's whatever. At this point, it is what it is. ... I still got a lot more to give. My thumb being hurt, it is what it is, but other than that, my body feels great, my mind feels strong and that's the important thing."
As for Leonard, Nurse said in a Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time) conference call that his star forward is "feeling good. No concerns at this point. He's good."
Nurse also said OG Anunoby does not have a timetable for returning from an emergency appendectomy that has sidelined the 21-year-old forward for the entire postseason.
"He is being more active every day," Nurse said. "I think we are getting closer to a point where we're - you know, unpack is the next step for him. He's moving pretty good, he's shooting, etc., but still a ways away from being able to take hits and contact in the areas that he needs to test out."
Aside from the storylines involving the Raptors stars' health, one involving rapper Drake has also gotten a lot of attention in the East finals.
Drake's impromptu massage of Nurse's shoulders in Game 4 is getting a lot of attention, though the Raptors' coach said he didn't even realize it had happened.
"I didn't even know I got the shoulder rub last night until somebody showed me a picture today," Nurse said. "I didn't even feel it. I was so locked into the game. Didn't distract me at all."
Drake has been very animated at courtside, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said if the rapper steps onto the court, it crosses the line.
"I don't know how much he's on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying it's more than I realize," Budenholzer said. "There's certainly no place for fans and, you know, whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors. You know, to be on the court, there's boundaries and lines for a reason, and like I said, the league is usually pretty good at being on top of stuff like that."
Drake took to social media to respond to Budenhozler's criticism, firing off a series of emojis on Instagram. He then did an Instagram Live post in which he linked a user's comment that read, in part: "If you don't want the opposing team to celebrate and dance, prevent them from scoring, winning, or achieving their objective. Get over it and keep moving."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.