Title: Fun Night Out: Leonard’s upside, Siakam’s ascendance and other takeaways from Raptors’ big win
Date: November 30, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors’ showdown with the Warriors, how fun it was, and what the team can take away from the victory.
Well, that was awesome.
For some time after Thursday’s meeting between the Raptors and the Warriors, that was my primary takeaway. The defending champions, down two key players and down big early, playing the script-flipped role of shorthanded underdog scrapping to come back on the road, eventually eliminating an 18-point lead to force overtime. Two genuine superstars going head-to-head and trading enormous buckets and game-altering stops, each living up to their ample early Hall of Fame plaques. A home crowd known for bringing it in the big moments turning Scotiabank Arena into 700,000 square feet of vibrating concrete and anxiety, Drake pacing the sidelines and barking and leading the defiant charge of the would-be king-slayers.
They don’t make regular season games like this often. This was a five-star classic, if we’re using the Meltzer scale where only the playoffs act as a Kazuchika Okada-like breaking of the five-star barrier. This was the best team in the NBA so far this season against the ultimate basketball juggernaut, a preview of a potential NBA Finals series in June and 53 minutes of knock-down, drag-out, pick-your-jaw-off-the-floor play-making. It was about as perfect as a regular season game gets.