Toronto Raptors Bay Street Journal, January 31st

The stock market has been closed since the last edition of Bay Street Journal, but the bank sure stayed open late Sunday night. The Raptors were able to take advantage of a depleted and offensively-challenged Orlando Magic team to snap their three-game losing streak with a 115-102 victory.

This was certainly the game (and the opponent) the Raptors needed to get themselves into some sort of consistent rhythm, and the first game they played strongly in all four quarters in quite some time.

That being said, let’s look at some of the latest market trends after tonight’s game:

Stock Up: Kyle Lowry, Mr. Raptor

You may or may not have already known this, but there is virtually nothing Kyle Lowry wouldn’t do to help the Toronto Raptors win basketball games. Sunday evening was no exception, as Lowry was everywhere on the court trying to get his team back on track with a win.

Lowry was fired up after his second-quarter dust-up with Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, a feud that dates back to the days of the Disney bubble:

From then on, he was as engaged as we’ve seen him all season. Defensively, he was directing traffic, providing on-ball pressure, and making things uncomfortable for the Magic all night. His energy was exactly what the Raptors needed, and he delivered. Lowry finished with 12 points, six rebounds, 15 assists, and two steals to lead the Raptors to an emphatic win.

Moral of the story: DO. NOT. POKE. THE. BEAR.

Stock Down: The Raptors’ Friendship with Aaron Gordon

Speaking of the bear-poker, on a night where the Raptors cruised to victory and virtually everyone’s stock rose, the only prospects that fell were the Raptors’ chances of trading for Aaron Gordon. Gordon had been playing a nice game up until that fateful moment, having scored nine points and providing good energy for Orlando. What followed was a series of very unfortunate events.

Kyle Lowry started jawing at him, and made sure to let the entire Orlando Magic team know that he would be going at Gordon for the rest of the night. The Raptors would repeatedly attack him in transition. After fouling him hard on a drive to the basket trying to take a charge, Aron Baynes got tangled up with Gordon and then threw him aside after the play.

And then, this happened:

Twitter Inc., @Raptors (2021)

Gordon would only manage five more points before exiting the game late in the third quarter after spraining his ankle. Hopefully the MRI comes back with encouraging results, as Gordon is a terrific player and Orlando certainly needs him to be healthy.

Futures Option: Blitzing Bembry

Give DeAndre’ Bembry credit where it’s due: even though his jersey number doesn’t get called every single night, when he does enter the game, he is ready to contribute.

Bembry has now played more than 15 minutes in three of the past four games, shooting 60% in that timeframe and providing some much-needed energy when he enters the game. Bembry isn’t going to light up the stat sheet, but he comes into the game committed to making winning plays.

Tonight alongside Yuta Watanabe off the bench, the two made life difficult for Orlando, contesting shots everywhere and playing stout perimeter defence.

Nick Nurse has continued to stress that players will see rotation minutes so long as they are committed to playing strong defensively and continue to play hard. Bembry is doing just that, and if he can put together these stretches more consistently, he should find himself rewarded with more minutes.

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