Title:Raptor Recalibration, Game 1: The final minute, the D.J. Augustin matchup, playoff interpretations and more
Date: April 14, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic, I introduced a new playoff day-after column where I’ll look at key plays, statistical trends, matchups and more from the Raptors’ playoff run. The first looks at a Game 1 loss to the Magic.
This is the part with only one interpretation.
I have been thinking about this line a lot in the days leading up to the playoffs. It is from a novel called “Stephen Florida” by Gabe Habash. It occurs as the titular — or accidentally pseudonymous, as it turns out — character prepares for the finals of the NCAA Division IV wrestling championships, and it has wedged itself in my brain. It is at the same time a statement on the finality and undisputed nature of playoff results as well as a commentary on how we narrate.
The NBA regular season is long, and it is noisy. Over the course of 82 games, there are enough ups and downs to weather that it can become a chore to view the larger picture all at once. Every losing streak is a sign of impending doom, every winning streak a boundless rainbow of certainty. These peaks and valleys are what make sports fandom as psychologically gripping — and addictive — as it is. The Raptors were an especially noisy case, in ways that would probably draw ire to repeat here. Needless to say, the message since Day One with this team — and their new star, and their new coach, and their new trade-deadline acquisition — has been that nothing matters until the playoffs. Little mattered for its own sake, and it was solely about being ready for the one test that matters.
The part where there is no interpretation.