Dwane Casey made his return to Toronto on Wednesday, guiding the Pistons to a 106-104 victory over the Raptors in his first game back since being fired as Toronto’s coach. The Raptors made the surprising decision to let go of Casey after his team was swept by the Cavaliers in the spring.
“Nobody likes getting fired,” Casey told Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “If anybody expects you to like who fired you or be happy with that, that’s not realistic. The fans are some of the best fans in all of sports, whether it’s soccer, baseball or basketball.
“From that standpoint, there are no hard feelings, but you always have a (figurative) two-by-four on your shoulder for the person who fired you when you were doing well.”
Casey’s peers believed he was doing well, voting for him to win the Coach of the Year award around the time he was dismissed from Toronto. Wednesday’s victory could signify a sense of revenge against his former team.
“It is specifically pointing the finger at me — and that’s their prerogative,” Casey said. “They said I was the problem. I know what we did over a seven-year period there and starting from the rebuilding, developing and in the lottery to where they are now.
“They can’t take that away. A lot of people can take credit for all the good and put all the bad on me — and that’s fine.”
There’s more out of the Atlantic division tonight:
- The Celtics could benefit from starting Marcus Smart, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. “I’d like to see us find some consistency at some point,” head coach Brad Stevens said. “I think that it’s not consistent, whatever our issues are.” The Celtics have started the 2018/19 season with an 8-6 record.
- Kyrie Irving downplayed his call for the Celtics to sign another veteran, explaining his comments to the media this week. “I wasn’t speaking about anyone specific,” Irving said, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “I just was speaking to like a vet that’s been through a championship run, through championship runs, that’s able to be patient with this team as well as understand what we’re going through of just figuring out the pieces and how they mesh well together.” Celtics general manager Danny Ainge claimed he hasn’t spoken to Irving about his comments.
- Nets training camp invitee Mitch Creek is continuing to pursue his dream of becoming an NBA player, as relayed by NetsDaily. Creek, 26, called the Nets “an elite program everywhere you go” and praised the coaching staff, performance team and others. He currently plays for the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate.