First half of season a success
Brilliant one night, brutal the next. Hurt or sick or sore or tired, but more than holding their own through it all.
It has not been the greatest of half seasons for the Toronto Raptors. Except that it has.
The team reached the midway point in the grind of an 82-game schedule on Saturday night, disappointed in some facets of their play but justifiably OK with where they are at the moment.
A blistering 20-4 start to the year gave way to a rather pedestrian 9-8 stretch, but forgetting for a moment the hot takes that change with the wind, a 29-12 record has them right in the thick of the fight for first overall in the league.
They don’t shoot from three-point range well enough most nights, except when they make 14 in a game, like they did Saturday. The defence has shown some slippage, except it is still among the top 10 in the league. The bench has been shoddy, except for the odd night when it carries the starters.
It’s really not been that bad. But they want more. And they probably should have it.
“I think you don’t want to judge too much just where we are all the time,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
“I like our roster. I like who we are. I like our capabilities. I think there is still a lot of growth.”
It is the long game that intrigues the Raptors and, notwithstanding the nightly entertainment quotient they provide for fans, it will be the way the season is ultimately regarded.
That, however, is months away from being determined. Today, as Nurse said, the issue is getting by, getting better and getting ready.