Photo Credit: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
The NBA Conference Semi-Finals came to a close on Sunday night and while a few former Raptors played a big role in their team advancing, several key players also went down with season-ending injuries.
Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard may have suffered a torn ACL, and Serge Ibaka will not return this season after having surgery on his back, which has bothered him all season. Even still, the Clippers found a way to advance to the Western Conference Finals over the Utah Jazz in six games, thanks in large part to big performances from Paul George and Terrence Mann.
Danny Green also went down with a right calf strain, and The Philadelphia 76ers missed his sharp shooting and savvy perimeter defence as they fell to the Atlanta Hawks in game seven.
Fierce but Respectful competition
Former Texas Longhorns PJ Tucker and Kevin Durant went at it in the Milwaukee Bucks grind-out seven-game series win over the Brooklyn Nets. While the two players got into it several times throughout the series, both Durant and Tucker talked about the mutual respect they have for each other. Durant put up huge scoring totals throughout the series but Tucker and the Bucks’ solid group of defenders did just enough to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The trash talk was entertaining throughout this series and in game seven even Durant’s mom had some fun banter with Tucker. Wanda Durant sat courtside in Brooklyn for game seven and was an active voice on the sidelines.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and the Sixers were all in the mix at the trade deadline, trying to make a move for Kyle Lowry. Now that all three teams are eliminated from the playoffs, some fans are wondering if these teams would have gone further if they were able to get a point guard of Lowry’s caliber.
It’s especially disappointing for the Sixers, who failed to make the East Finals as the one seed. Ben Simmons struggled immensely trying to find some confidence shooting and scoring the ball, and acquiring Lowry might have taken some of the pressure off him.
Cameron Payne from the Suns and Lou Williams from the Hawks are a couple other former Raptors who will be interesting to watch in the Conference Finals, but all players from the Raptors 2019 championship run have either been eliminated or ruled out for the remainder of the season with injuries.