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.