Did you watch the last Raptors game against the Mavericks? Of course you did, you’re here reading this. So why am I bothering to ask? Because that was how you win a basketball game. The Toronto Raptors, for what felt like the entire 48-minutes of gameplay, had full control over their destiny against a purported top team in the league. There was no blowout and the level of competition wasn’t skewed to one side or the other, and that is what made the victory all the more impressive. Toronto held their own and showed that they have what it takes to actually win the games that they hold their own in, unlike last year, where they were just scrappy enough to hang close until the wheels fell off.
It’s no secret that, though this team is largely the same on paper that it was last year, it feels different this time around. Gone are the slumped shoulders, fleeting scowls and general malaise. In their place, teammates are actually celebrating each other! They’re up off the bench. They’re showing support. Sometimes, all it takes is a little love. Just ask Malachi Flynn.
I’m genuinely happy for Malachi Flynn man. It really does look like Darko and the team are believing in him, and he just had his best game of the season thus far.— Terren Rule (@TerrenRule) November 9, 2023
Look at this clip of Temple giving him props during the Raptors game against the Dallas Mavs. Love to see it pic.twitter.com/IHmqqyOJad
Look at the smile on Malachi’s face there! If you’ve watched a lick of Raptors basketball since Flynn has been around, you know that this moment has basically never happened.
Now, vibes and daps don’t win you basketball games (though they do help). The Raptors are in really tough against a Celtics team that looks like they could come out of the East with the best record. The C’s have shooting, defense, playmakers and a superstar in Jayson Tatum. While the Celtics bench is shaky — and littered with former Raptors, hilariously enough — it’s likely that Toronto won’t be able to march into the paint at will and put up 70 some odd percent like they did against the Mavs. So what does this game have in store for Raptors fans and how can Toronto churn out another tough W?
Can we expect to see another repeat performance where OG Anunoby locks down the opposing team’s superstar, miring them in their worst shooting performance of the year? Will Pascal find some momentum coming off an interior masterclass that can translate to a bit less of a perimeter stinker? Will Scottie continue to be the hub and defensive menace that he is fashioning himself to be? Better tune in and find out!
How to Watch
Sportsnet ONE — 7:00 pm ET
Toronto: Dennis Schröder, Scottie Barnes, O.G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl
Boston: Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis
Toronto: Christian Koloko (out — respiratory), Gary Trent Jr. (out, plantar fasciitis)