Title: Six lessons the Raptors can take forward from Boston as they continue building
Date: September 13, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the lessons the Raptors can take forward from their loss to the Celtics.
“So I guess I’ll cut my losses, ’cause I lost a lot. I guess I’ll quit complaining and I’ll start walking it off.” — The Starting Line
The NBA relaunching the season inside of a bubble near Orlando, Fla., has left us with one final wrinkle of strangeness: There is a palpable lack of closure.
Following a Game 7 defeat at the hands of the Boston Celtics, the Toronto Raptors would normally be preparing for a locker clean-out day at OVO Athletic Centre, undergoing their season-ending physicals and final media obligations. Instead, the Raptors spent their Saturday undergoing their final COVID-19 tests before leaving the bubble, some destined for Toronto, some destined for their hometowns and some with destinations for next year still unclear. On the media side, the remote coverage process has gone about as well as we could have hoped for the last few months. Still, with no locker room scene-setting, no private conversations and no final scrums, at least for now, the Raptors being eliminated has an absence of finality.
It makes turning the page to 2020-21 — possibly better framed as just “2021” based on recent reporting — a little awkward, which is just fine for one more day. We do have a lot of forward-looking content coming as the Raptors enter a very interesting and difficult offseason. I wanted to take final stock of the season that was, and especially of a hard-fought series against the Celtics. Yes, the Raptors came up short, but they exceeded regular-season expectations and finished the playoffs just about where we expected. That they didn’t complete one of the least likely title defences of all time is disappointing, sure. It is not, however, an indictment. This season and next always shaped up as bridge years between contention windows. The Raptors changed that thinking with a special season.