By Freddie Rivas
Boston glee party. So many good things last night. If it wasn’t such an important game for both teams, you might be able to write it off as one team being off and the other team being on, but everyone tried, and everyone cared. Remember late last season when we lost back-to-back to the Celtics/Cavs? It underscored a sense of plateauing, particularly with Serge defending the PnR & the bench being less impactful in a high stakes game. Whatever this game was, it was the opposite of that; Raptors ascending????
????Worries about Gasol. Don’t worry about Gasol. This game should assuage people still wondering if maybe we shouldn’t have traded JV for an old Jedi like Marc. JV is good at what he does, but this game is a great example of just how much bigger an impact Marc can make, in ways that JV couldn’t dream of. Marc played Theiss off the court, had 8 integral assists, a +18 in 23 minutes and mitigated the Celtics single biggest advantage by outplaying Horford while the raps took over the game in the 2nd! Vital.
????Say it with me, ????THE RAPTORS ARE NOT ALL IN! Is Kawhi going to stay? Are Lowry and Gasol too old? Are they in a good position to rebuild after this season? As a Raptors fan, you can confidently answer all of these questions with one name: SIAKAM. Siakam is basically unstoppable every night and is one of the single best prospects in the entire NBA. He’s actually not that young because he’s 24? GTFO, the dude is a ????????????that is crushing everything in it’s path.
????Claw management & Cry-me Irving. If rest = this type of calm dominance from Kawhi, Philly & Boston don’t stand a chance. Giannas is a different conversation and Embiid might take over the league at some point down the line, but if I was a Boston fan, I would be terrified that Kyrie was my best player. Yes, he can conjure up 1-1 magic from time to time, but he is rarely the best player on the court, and won’t be against any of the major eastern contenders. Boston dodged a bullet last year by having an inspired and under-scouted Rozier come in hot for them.
????I had lofty expectations of Nurse heading into this year. He came into one of the most fortunate situations I could ever imagine, but, man, has he really excelled. Sure, there are things to nitpick, but a game like this really puts this teams potential on display. Nurse busting out new plays this late in the season for Kawhi☑️, giving Gasol more minutes than Serge☑️, knowing that Lin can guard Kyrie☑️, hiding Kyle in the post on D☑️, and somehow unlocking Norm’s sharp shooting + Pat’s beastly D in the same shift☑️☑️. Still gotta see him in the playoffs but, if this dude was in Bean Town, he’d already have a statue. Toast that bread, sir!