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Toronto Raptors allow point guard Kyle Lowry to skip pre-season trip to Charlotte

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TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors are giving their all-star guard Kyle Lowry a couple of games off before the NBA's regular season begins.

Lowry didn't make the trip to Charlotte for Saturday's pre-season opener versus the Hornets, but coach Nick Nurse said the decision was about "load management."

"Just (don't) really see any need to have him on the trip. That's it," Nurse said. 

The Raptors gave Lowry permission to stay at the team's temporary home in Tampa, Fla., for the pair of games Saturday and Monday. The Raptors return to Tampa to host Miami on Friday in their final pre-season contest.

Nurse said Lowry is in excellent shape. 

"No worry with him. I would imagine a couple of the other guys, like (Aron) Baynes, would be also pretty limited. . . It's more preserving those guys that are in their 30s-plus," Nurse said.

"I just don't have any real conditioning worries right now, not with our main guys."

Lowry likely wouldn't have played much anyways, as Nurse uses these pre-season games to gauge the talent of newcomers such as Malachi Flynn, the guard the Raptors selected 29th overall in last month's draft.

The Raptors hadn't played since they were ousted by Boston in the second round of the playoffs in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in late August.

The team's regular-season opener is Dec. 23 against New Orleans in Tampa.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2020.

The Canadian Press