The latest episode of Open Gym begins on January 11th, the day the Raptors played the Cavaliers on their only TNT televised game. TNT announcer Kevin Harlan was skeptical that the Raptors could defeat Cleveland without two of their starters, and in the third game in four nights. Well, Kevin, we all know how that turned out.
Norman Powell led the pre-game huddle, encouraging the team to bounce back from their one point loss to Miami two days prior. Norm also put up 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, showing fans and teammates alike a glimmer of the Powell of Raptors past.
Also, within the first three minutes of the episode, viewers are able to relive Jakob Poeltl sending Jae Crowder to the Shadow Realm.
Dwane Casey emphasizes that the 34 point blowout does not define the Raptors as a team, and that the Raptors are still very much a work in progress. Two days later, Paul Jones recalls the biggest comeback ever of a Raptors’ opponent, in which the Golden State Warriors, who trailed Toronto by 27, came back to beat the Raptors by nine points in December, 2013. This time, however it would be the Raptors who would return from a 27 point deficit, ultimately falling to the Warriors, yet again, by just two points.
The night before the Raptors’ MLK Day game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Kyle Lowry invited the Raptors team and staff to his beautiful off-season home to enjoy dinner and watch the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings football game. With the majority of NBA off court news focusing on the dumpster fire that is the Cleveland Cavaliers organization, to witness the Raptors close-knit relationship, with players and staff lounging on Kyle’s couches like old friends, is a breath of fresh air.
Take pride in the Raptors successes this week. In their alliance and connection. But remember: this is only a test.
Watch the entire episode below: