There were a lot of highlights this week for the Raptors. That’s just what happens when you win all of your games. Toronto beat up on the Hornets, then took down the Sixers twice; for this week’s Fun and Good highlight, we’re just going to steer into the recency bias and reflect on the team’s last game.
There were a lot of highlights to choose from in the Raptors satisfying win over the Sixers on Saturday evening. Serge Ibaka had a thunderous dunk; Norman Powell set out to top him moments later; DeMar DeRozan had 29 points and hit four more 3-pointers in the mug of every analytics person in the world. It was a delight.
But we are flying high with Delon Wright, the young point guard who missed a month of action with a shoulder injury, and is back now looking like he hadn’t sat a second. Delon is a marvel.
There were some nice Wright highlights to choose from — Delon blocking a Dario Saric three and then leaking out for the easy lay-in is indeed a strong runner-up — but for this week’s Fun and Good selection, we’ve got to go with this one:
The context here is great. Joel Embiid, the big man about town, was making his grand return to the court after missing three games. We were all there to see the spectacle, and deep down we were worried he’d kill the Raptors himself. As I said in my recap, the first few minutes of the game bore this fear out — Embiid looked unstoppable.
On paper Toronto should beat the young team from Philly more often than not, but supremely talented players (even ones still trying to figure things out) make a big difference. So, despite the pre-vacation largess of the day, emotions were running high. Fortunately, the Raptors kept to their game. The defensive pressure continued to ratchet up, the offense found its groove, and all of a sudden the game was way out of control for the Sixers.
In the midst of all that, the quietest player on the floor — Delon Wright — took the ball directly at the biggest, loudest player around (in the league?), Joel Embiid. The result was what you see up there — wondrous grace, beautiful execution, and a gift of pure fun and goodness. These were just two of Delon’s 14 points on the day, but since Embiid had violently blocked him earlier in the game, they were made that much sweeter.
And with that: Merry Christmas to all, and we’ll see you in 2018.