Raptors wait for Serge Ibaka to break into lineup | Toronto Star

With an unprecedented break between games, Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey is sure to sit back, catch his breath and take a break from the rigours of coaching an NBA team.But no matter where he is, there will be a little bit gnawing at him to get back on...

Raptors wait for Serge Ibaka to break into lineup | Toronto Star

With an unprecedented break between games, Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey is sure to sit back, catch his breath and take a break from the rigours of coaching an NBA team.

But no matter where he is, there will be a little bit gnawing at him to get back on the job because he’s got a shiny new bauble to work with.

Serge Ibaka won’t play for the Raptors until a week from Friday – after the extended NBA all-star break – and neither will Patrick Patterson. Once the season resumes, Casey will be ready to go.

READ MORE: Ibaka stunner shows Raptors mean businessIbaka stunner shows Raptors mean business

“As soon as we get back, he’s gonna be the first thing,” Casey said Wednesday of Ibaka. “We’ll get back here and have a couple of good practice days before we hit the second stretch of games. It’s a great time, for he and Pat to come back. Getting those guys back (can’t come) soon enough.”

Having two starting calibre veteran power forwards will give Casey all kinds of new options to explore. But to see Ibaka and Patterson as a panacea for all that ails the Raptors is foolish, which is why two full days of practice after the break and before a Feb. 24 game with Boston is so important.

“One guy is not going to be a magic wand,” Casey said. “It’s going to be everybody collectively, coming together and doing their job and I think everything will fall in place. As you can see, when you pull one thread out, it has a ravelling effect so getting him put in there, getting Pat back into the second unit, getting that back to a semblance of normalcy is going to be very important for us.”

INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN: The Raptors have been known for years as an organization that most welcomes players from outside of North America. The acquisition of Serge Ibaka for Terrence Ross and a draft pick now gives Toronto seven players – almost half the roster – who were born outside of the United States.

Ibaka (Republic of Congo), Bruno Caboclo and Lucas Nogueira (Brazil), Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania), Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), Jakob Poeltl (Austria) and Cory Joseph (Canada) give Toronto as many players as any team in the league who weren’t born in the USA. Utah also has seven.

PRESSING RESET: DeMar DeRozan has to start another streak.

Being held to 18 points in Chicago on Tuesday night stopped a career-best streak of 20 games of 20 or more points for the all-star guard.

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