Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Raptors look to spoil the Thunder's visit to the Great White North, as they pursue an upset over OKC in this Sunday afternoon match up.
On Friday morning, I sat in an airport lounge and accessed the wonderful thing that is the internet, for the first time in two weeks. I immediately checked the NBA standings, to see where my beloved Raptors stood after the seven games I missed. I assumed that the team that was 6-19 on the day of my departure, would be in full tank-mode upon my return, and would be at or near the very bottom of the standings. To my surprise, I looked at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and saw Washington, Cleveland, Charlotte, Orlando, Detroit, and then the Raptors! 2.5 games out of the 8th spot, and 6-1 while I was gone! Whew, I was excited.
My Raptor-based excitement has certainly lowered since then, as I was a witness of Friday's UGLY loss to the Kings. The Dinos' ball movement was non-existent, they settled for far too many jumpers, and the defense; it was terrible. Basically, they played the same way they had been playing before my departure.
I couldn't understand for the life of me, how these Raptors; the team that got blown out by the Kings, had won 6 of 7 games while I was gone. I spent the entirety of my Saturday watching the 7 games I missed, and couldn't believe my eyes. Energy, ball movement, aggressiveness, stifling defense! It looked like these guys were having fun out there! It was truly a treat to watch (although I had to mute the TV due to excessive amounts of Leo/Matt).
Although I'd love to see more of that type of play from the Raptors; this will be a tough game to return to form. The Thunder hold the NBA's best record, and have won 4 of their last 5, including Friday's 24 point blowout of the 76ers.
The Raptors look to prove their recent succes is not solely schedule-based, as they face off against arguably the NBA's best.