Raptors guard Kyle Lowry described the Toronto Raptors attitude as “next man up” — exactly the strategy that the Golden State Warriors said they started using after Kevin Durant went down with an injury against Houston. “Next man up” simply means there are a lot of players on every team capable of major contributions — when a star goes down one of them has to step up and perform.
It’s worked exceedingly well for the Warriors, who have a lot of All-Stars among their “next man up” candidates. And it has worked well for the less deep Raptors too, as they’ve evened their series with the Bucks by winning Games 3 and 4 at home.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 22, 2019
But why do the Raptors need the “next man up” strategy/attitude? In explaining it, Lowry strikes a terrible fear in Raptors fans. Toronto head coach Nick Nurse said after the game that Kawhi Leonard was no more tired than many other players, and that he wasn’t injured, and that he even refused an extended rest on the bench during Game 4.
Lowry told a different story about the Raptors superstar Leonard, admitting: “We understand Kawhi wasn’t going to be great, at 100 percent tonight.”
Leonard reportedly injured his leg in Game 3, during which he was seen limping a bit, but he still played 52 minutes (it went to overtime).