Raptors guard Norman Powell made his return Wednesday after missing six weeks with a separated shoulder, seeing 14 minutes of action and working hard to regain his usual game shape. His return gave a much-needed boost of energy to a team already dealing with injuries to Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka and others.
“Yeah, (Powell) just was really doing a good job of fulfilling a role, playing hard on (defense), taking the open situations on offense, not forcing the issue as much (as he has in the past),” coach Nick Nurse said postgame, according to Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun.
“It’s what we need him to do, especially now coming off the injury. He just needs to kind of play hard and settle in on the offensive end.”
Powell gave a solid effort in his first 12 games this season, with the 25-year-old suffering his shoulder injury on Nov. 5. Powell has averaged 4.8 points per game this season, shooting 46% from the field and 38% from behind the arc.
Here are some other notes from the Atlantic Division tonight:
- Locating trades to improve a struggling bench could be difficult for the Sixers, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic writes. Philly sports a dominant core three of Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid in their starting five, but the team’s bench has mostly struggled this season. The Sixers currently hold a 21-12 record and could look to deal second-year guard Markelle Fultz as the Feb. 7 trade deadline nears.
- Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was fined $15K by the NBA on Wednesday for public criticism of the officiating, the league announced in a press release. Nurse’s comments came after Toronto’s 95-86 loss to the Nuggets on Sunday. “It’s ridiculous,” Nurse said at the time, upset that Kawhi Leonard wasn’t getting more calls on drives to the rim. “The guy is one of the best players in the league. He doesn’t complain. They just turn their head and go the other way, and it’s been going on all year.”
- Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports compares the Nets to the hungry, inexperienced Lakers team before LeBron James joined the franchise, describing the similarities between the two in detail. Brooklyn, recovering from several underwhelming seasons, has won seven straight games around their young core as they await a potential future star free agent.