For the longest time of our history, the words, “I’m sorry” represented Canada. We were the polite country; the let’s not ruffle any feathers country. We apologize when it isn’t even our fault. Unless of course you poked fun at hockey or beer and then in which case, you would see the ferocity of a grizzly on display. Canadians have been known to complain – yes, but rarely if ever, retaliate. The same could be said in our sporting world even when none Canadians darn our jersey.
But not now as it doesn’t appear we are going to take it anymore.
Paul Pierce, one of Toronto Raptor’s most hated opponents, kept stating that this city’s basketball team didn’t have “it” whatever it meant. I had considered what he was referring too was a mental, and attitudinal toughness. For the longest time I agreed with him. Although he still believes the Raps don’t have “it” this year, this time I disagree. They have shown “it” in several different ways.
They beat a LeBron James led team by 34 points and that was without two starter. Kyle Lowry was injured and Serge Ibaka suspended (we will get to that later) so they both missed the game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Raps apparently didn’t need them as their bench and youth, ran the Cavs straight out of the building in a 133-99 romp. Everyone (myself included) did not see that coming at all. Fast forward two days and they are up against the other team that has been in the last 3 NBA finals, the Golden State Warriors. Ibaka was back in the lineup and as one expected, there had to be a bit of a letdown after that huge win. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors got off to a 27 point lead. Time to fold the tents and head on home. But no, the mental toughness of this Raptor team kept shining through and they mounted a comeback. It did fall short, losing 127-125, but they deservedly got a standing ovation despite the loss. This team will not back down from anyone, anymore.
It isn’t just in how they are matching up with the best teams in the league, it is also their style of play as well. The game this past week against the Miami Heat was a very challenging one. The Heat play a very aggressive style of basketball and the refs seem to swallow their whistle. (Side note: Hey refs… Goran Dragic pushes off constantly… CONSTANTLY! Yet you never call it.) They did wind up losing to Dragic and the Heat on a last second play, but that was after playing an overtime game the night before and fighting those refs. The Heat tried to push them around all night, but once again, the Raptors had had enough. Remember the aforementioned Ibaka suspension? Well, that was because he and former Raptor James Johnson threw a punch or two. They each received a game suspension for that.
— Fanatics View (@thefanaticsview) January 10, 2018
Once the final whistle blew, there was also another kerfuffle between DeMar DeRozan and Dragig which resulted in fines. DeRozan got the bigger fine so it may be that he initiated this. Like I said, this isn’t the same old Raptors. They are not going to be pushed around, nor are they gonna let their teammates get pushed around either. Monday in Philadelphia it appeared that rookie Ben Simmons had some words for Austrian sophomore Jakob Poeltl. Kyle Lowry, despite just coming off a back injury wasn’t going to have any of it and immediately stepped in. They both got ejected. This little tete-a-tete started earlier in the game when Simmons blind sided Lowry, sending him to the floor and Lowry retaliated a few seconds later with a push of his own.
Now I am not saying the Raptors will turn into the Charlestown Chiefs of the NBA (figure out that reference) but they are beginning to prove they won’t get step aside anymore and get pushed around by any team. The refs however, are still a work in progress.
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