Yes, there are still a lot of games left to play, and much can still happen, but Game 1 made one thing abundantly clear: the Raptors are not afraid. Maybe the Raptors just aren’t scared anymore. Not of a Game 1. Not of the Philadelphia 76ers. Not even of the mounting pressure attendant to the NBA Playoffs.
And certainly not when Kawhi Leonard goes off for a playoff career-high 45 points on 15-of-23 shooting. Or when Pascal Siakam can race out with him to 29 points of his own on 12-of-15 shooting. Or when Marc Gasol helps hold MVP candidate Joel Embiid to 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting. No, definitely not then.
Now, all these numbers may not always hold for Toronto; they could very well vanish entirely in Game 2 tonight when an angry and motivated Philadelphia 76ers team takes the floor. But that feeling, the Raptors unafraid of the moment, that could stick around. And if you’re a fan of the Sixers — or indeed any other team in the NBA — it should put the fear of Toronto straight into you.
“I think it kind of got the jitters out and stuff, to be honest with you,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse after …
Author: Daniel Reynolds / Raptors HQ