Wednesday night's win over the Spurs was as glorious to behold as it was unexpected. Rolling into to town were the unflappable Spurs, on a 67-win pace and sporting a suffocating defense that ranks among the all-time greats through the first quarter of the season.
There seemed to be no chance that the banged up Raptors - down two crucial starters - would be able to hang. But hang they did, and they won.
Maybe that shouldn't have surprised followers of this year's team. All too often these Raptors have run through stout opponents like a bedazzled Mario in games that could have instead incited widespread groaning. Through 23 games, the Raptors are 8-3 against teams ranked in the top-12 in the league in NET Rating; and of course two of those losses came in narrow, valiant defeats at the hands of the unstoppable Warriors. Getting up for big games hasn't been the problem.
But as our Michael Hoad pointed out in his Bucks-Raptors preview, the Raptors have routinely followed up triumphant wins with let-down losses. They'll attempt to avoid a similar fate tonight against the downtrodden Bucks (9-14), who after a sturdy 2014-15 have looked more like a lost group of motherless Bambis this season.
A repeat performance of the Raptors' 106-87 skinning of the Bucks on November 1st would be a welcome development for this shorthanded squad.
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