Although they lost a heartbreaker in Chicago, the HQ's Sean Tepper notes that Raptors fans have a reason to be overly optimistic for the future.
After last night’s game against the New York Knicks left me rubbing my eyes in disbelief, I can honestly say that I was not prepared for what happened tonight.
Being the pessimist that I am, I expected the Toronto Raptors to fold after an inspiring effort saw them overcome Linsanity.
Can you blame me?
If there’s anything that this season has taught me it’s that the words "consistent" and "Toronto Raptors" cannot be used in the same sentence. Just when you think that the organization has turned a new leaf, they lose winnable games to teams like Milwaukee, Detroit and New Jersey and remind you why they still have ways to go in becoming a truly competitive team.
With that being said, I was expecting to see a blowout at the hands of the NBA’s best team. I was expecting to see Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah teach Aaron Gray and Andrea Bargnani what it meant to really play defence. I was expecting to see Tom Thibodeau chuckle every time Linas Kleiza pulled up for a jump shot.
I was not expecting to see a game that the Raptors were not only competitive in, but were one Andrea Bargnani three-pointer away from winning.
Like every other Raptors fan watching I was crushed when C.J. Watson’s partially blocked shot was recovered by Deng and put into the basket before the buzzer rang.
After the officials reviewed the basket and confirmed that the shot did in fact beat the buzzer, I turned to my friend that I was watching the game with and saw that his hands were in his face.
"Typical Raptors," he mumbled. "Always letting me down."
Generally speaking, I would agree with my friend, who is a lifelong Raptors fan, and begin to breakdown all the areas that the team went wrong.
But not tonight.
I can honestly say that after last night’s game, I have never been more excited for the franchise’s future. I mean seriously for a team that many people are saying is in the midst of a "tryout" season, the Raptors finally showed that they have the ability to compete with best of them.
Now I’m not saying that they have the ability to do this consistently, I’m just saying that they have that ability if everything goes their way.
Just look at the numbers.
Jose Calderon put up 20 points and 10 assists while shooting over 50 per cent from the field, Gary Forbes grabbed 13 rebounds and scored 12 points and Amir Johnson looked extremely dominant in limited time off the bench. Even James Johnson carved up his former team 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
The Dinos even managed to out-rebound the Bulls 58-44 and shot five per cent better than them from the floor.
It’s these types of games that have you turning off your TV with a smile on your face. I mean how couldn’t it.
As Franchise pointed out in yesterday’s Tip-In, Raptors fans have a lot to be excited for. Not only will they have a top pick in the draft, but Jonas Valanciunas will be joining the team. With plenty of money to spend, I can’t wait to see who the Raptors bring in.
Call it the euphoria of winning, but I’m as high on the Raptors as I’ve ever been.