Are we all a bunch of hypocrites?
People that feel a sense of closure after Kawhi’s return would appear to be the same people (myself included) that won’t let go that the Raptors are defending, reigning, NBA champions.
Whatever your feeling is, Kawhi’s return to Scotiabank Arena was special. From the Thank You billboard at Dundas Square, to the additional billboards from MLSE, to the warm reception from fans and former teammates, Leonard received a hero’s welcome.
While I was unable to partake in the latest episode, Jason and Dre discussed all the events surrounding the Clippers’ one and only visit to Toronto this season. (Unless, of course, they... ah, never mind) Enjoy the latest episode of That’s A Rap!
On This Episode:
The reception was nice. The tribute video was nice. The re-creation of “the Shot” via lighting-of-foot-steps was really nice. No one seemed upset that he didn’t give a speech. No one appeared to boo. If the night could’ve ended after Kawhi waved to the crowd with ring in hand, you’d be excused to proclaiming the event a rousing success.
But there was still a game to be played and, well, this is why we can’t have nice things.
Toronto’s offensive woes continued. Unfortunately, the defense was unable to pick up the slack. For the second time in as many games, and also the second time against the Clippers, Toronto was held under 100 points. Serge Ibaka’s post-injury shooting slump reached its peak (or valley?). Ma Fuzzy finished 0-of-8 from the field, which is the most field goal attempts in his career without a made field goal. Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby were a combined 1-of-14 from beyond the arc.
On the other side, Kawhi rebounded from a tough first outing against his former team, with a team-high 23 points. His legacy in Toronto continues to be a topic of debate. How do you properly commemorate his contribution to the franchise? Is the tribute video and ring presentation enough? Does he deserve a statue or his jersey be retired?
As Toronto gets
uncomfortable with the post-Kawhi identity, there will obviously be some growing pains. When the Raptors raced out of the gates to a 15-4 start, expectation levels grew to an unsustainable level. Now that the team’s been brought back to its original pedestal, the reality is that this team is great defensively, average offensively, and, with the exception of the Clippers game, able to keep games close.
Good news is that the schedule’s getting a little easier. With Brooklyn, Cleveland, Detroit, and Washington up next, the Raptors can work out the chemistry issues and shooting woes that have crept up since Lowry and Ibaka returned from injuries. Another silver lining is that this is only mid-December. Nick Nurse has 58 games to right the ship. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing the early season Raptors again soon!
1:20 - Board Man returns
3:50 - Closure (finally)
8:10 - Post-Kawhi identity
12:30 - Kawhi’s Legacy
17;30 - Raps-Clips Recap
20:30 - Clips figuring it out
26:40 - It’s beginning to look a lot like....