Toronto Raptors Naysayers- RELAX


Toronto Raptors Naysayers- RELAX

The Toronto Raptors are okay. NBA fans and analysts who were burying them after their nationally televised game in the United States can take a page from Aaron Rodgers who had a similar message for Packers’ fans after fretting their start: relax. R-E-L-A-X (and since they are undefeated). I am not the leader of the Raptors though, or even a member actually, but I’m going to say it: relax.

I’m not expecting them to go undefeated after this posting, but I don’t think it can hurt. Plus, most of all, I really believe in the sentiment.

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Okay, the loss against the Bulls kinda hurt. But it was a letdown spot. Toronto had scored at least 100 points in the seven previous contests, winning five straight. They were playing just their third ‘decent’ team all year (going 1-1 versus Washington and at Miami respectively), and maybe most of all, it was their first game of the year in the spotlight. Being nationally televised in the States is a pretty big deal, and the Raptors having not been nationally televised down south since 2002 (12 whole years!) is pretty insane. So everybody is up… and it’s kinda hard to keep them all up – as well as continuing any streak.

Nov 13, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls guard

Jimmy Butler

(21) clashes with Toronto Raptors guard

DeMar DeRozan

(10) during the fourth quarter at Air Canada Centre. Chicago won 100 – 93. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

However, “humbling” is the word I’m going to use to describe the loss to the Bulls. It wasn’t a “bad” loss in retrospect or even by the optics (the Bulls are a contending team by all accounts and the Raptors lost by just seven… no biggie). However, the big thing that everyone seems to be overlooking is that ALL that game was decided on was one bad, awful, terrible, horrible, ugly, disgraceful quarter. Other than that forsaken quarter, Toronto won 79-65. How one bad quarter changes so much prevailing thought on a team…

Anyway, since the big loss, the Raptors stuck Utah by 18 points (111-93). DeMar DeRozan scored 27 rather effortless points, and that was a marked difference from the Bulls game, where he scored just 10. I was hoping against the Bulls for DeRozan to just shut it down and remember that he has a quality team around him… and even a second-unit capable of winning a game… as proved just last week. But he kept firing, hoping it would come around. It didn’t. However, it was back against Utah as he hit 10/17 FG, a substantial improvement from 3/17.

Nov 17, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Vince Carter (15) goes up for a dunk as Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and forward Kostas Papanikolaou (16) look on during the first quarter at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

So as Toronto closes out this massive home stand, Vince Carter (right) and Memphis (that just sounds weird!!) loom on November 19th and they’re a scary team sitting in first place in the heroic Western Conference. However, Toronto is also in first place. While no one is crowning this game as a future (or even potential) NBA Finals matchup in June, this is another big spot for the Raptors to show that they are for real. So while I state the message from the loss against Chicago is RELAX, everyone who is dismissing them should have most of their stack’s chips back in the pot versus the Grizzlies. And the pot may just be to see if the Raps are for real, or to regain the people whom were lost by the Bulls’ game… but the Raptors thus far this season should have earned a large amount of chips already.