Title: Blowout scenarios anything but garbage time for young Raptors
Date: December 6, 2016
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I looked at the importance of the Raptors blowing teams out for the development of their young players.
During a timeout with less than three minutes to go in Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was incensed. All through a timeout break, Lowry risked infringing on the Dance Pak’s routine in order to plead with officials. Cory Joseph and head coach Dwane Casey would eventually join him. They argued it should be Raptors’ ball, after Brandon Ingram tipped a shot out of bounds. The referees instead believed it was one of the worst air balls of the season. Lowry did not hide his disagreement.
The shot came from the hands of Fred VanVleet, and it came while the Raptors were up by 27.
The Raptors ended up beating the Lakers by 33, and one night later they beat the Atlanta Hawks by 44. While these wins were certainly a testament to the hot streak the Raptors found themselves on, they also serve another purpose: Rare and invaluable experience for the end of the roster.
It’s common to call these blowout scenarios “garbage time,” but it’s patently clear the Raptors don’t treat them as such. Against L.A., Lowry and Joseph arguing on behalf of a rookie – VanVleet had just recorded a turnover and didn’t want to compound mistakes – says a lot about the Raptors, as does the fact that VanVleet was still annoyed by the blown call after the game. Every possession matters, even in a blowout.