As we prepare to tuck into the basketball feast that is Raptors-Warriors on this day, November 29th, 2018, let us first tumble back through time and remember a slightly different moment in Toronto sports history, one that comes to us as if from a different dimension altogether.
On this day, November 29th, in the year of our lord 2006, former Raptor Darrick Martin hit a three-pointer. This wasn’t just any three-pointer though; it was a three-pointer near the very end of regulation in a game against the Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors would go on to lose the game (because of course they did), but not before Martin hit his three-pointer to extend Toronto’s streak of games with a made three all the way to 628. Said streak, which began on February 26, 1999, would run for another 358 games before finally ending on January 24, 2011. The streak would end in another period of dark times in Raptors history.
For a multitude of reasons, this made three streak was and is absolutely insane. It persists because, well, for a time it was all we had in Toronto. In 2006, the Raptors were set to eventually go 47-35 (before flaming out in the playoffs; stop us if you’ve heard this before). But at the time of Martin’s attempt, the Raptors were 5-9, and on their way to being 5-10. This, after a 27-55 season had crushed the collective will of the city and the team (again). Like I said, dark times.
Five years later, when the streak eventually ended, the situation in Toronto had not improved. After All-Star Chris Bosh left, the Raptors muddled through a truly awful 22-60 season, pining only for the NBA Draft lottery. The breaking of the made three streak was like snuffing the very flame of hope, that internal thing keeping our fandom alive. The Raptors were bad, and only appeared to be getting worse. (If you’re curious, just look at this box score — true despair lies ahead.) On that particular night, Toronto would collective go 0-for-13 from three, with guys like Andrea Bargnani, Sundiata Gaines, and more, involved. We as Raptors fans really had no reason to carry on.
Yet, somehow, we did. Which brings me back to how absolutely insane it was that this streak was ever a thing in the first place.
First, look at Darrick Martin, the most turtle-looking NBA player in existence (apologies to Anthony Carter). At 35, this guy managed to appear in 31 Raptors games in 2006-07, averaging 7.1 minutes per game. This guy!
Second, given how the NBA works now, with three-pointers just a matter of course, it feels distinctively absurd to even care about a made three streak. If you’re an NBA team now that is ever, ever, in danger of not making a three in a game, your franchise should just be folded and launched into the sun. I don’t care what Gregg Popovich thinks about how the three-pointer has ruined basketball — if, through 48 minutes, a professional basketball team can’t hit one shot beyond 22 feet, y’all gotta gtfo.
Third, and most critically, for every time we get antsy about the Raptors in the present day (I admit, I was shaky recently), please use this instructive and truly bizarre moment in history to recall the depths of depravity we once found ourselves in. We Raptors fans once were happy to root for Darrick Martin as he hit a garbage-time, mean-nothing, three-pointer. This is what counted for joy in the Raptors universe in 2006. Good lord.
The Raptors of today are, as you well know, 18-4 and make on average 11.8 three-pointers per game (good for merely eighth in the league). They attempt 33.5 per game, and have a roster of competent shooters up and down and across the board. They are not relying on the likes of Bargs, Sundiata Gaines, or Darrick freakin’ Martin.
Special thanks to Youtube user Djspictomylu, who made the commemorative video below 12 years ago — a video that has come to be shared and viewed widely since its release — before, I assume, ascending into heaven.
Godspeed, please enjoy Raptors-Warriors tonight, and above all else: remember.