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HomeSportsRaptors compelled to regulate after COVID causes detour down acquainted highway

Raptors compelled to regulate after COVID causes detour down acquainted highway

The Toronto Raptors weren’t alleged to be practising on Thursday. They weren’t alleged to be gathering their younger gamers once more within the night for a taking pictures clinic.

As a substitute, they had been alleged to be internet hosting the Chicago Bulls and outdated pal DeMar DeRozan at Scotiabank Enviornment. However then got here the reminder that 2021 isn’t over simply but. The Bulls had two video games cancelled on account of a COVID outbreak and the Raptors unexpectedly had some free time on their fingers.

So, they practised, and so they bought their heads across the notion that for the brief time period at the very least, issues are going to be completely different, or possibly slightly extra the identical, in case your level of reference was the strangeness of final season when the league had 33 COVID-related postponements.

It’s not one thing anybody needs – for the gamers it should imply extra testing, extra restrictions away from the court docket and probably extra threat as the newest wave appears to be sweeping by the NBA and (extra considerably) the final inhabitants.

It can additionally imply a ceiling of fifty per cent capability at Scotiabank Enviornment, starting with Saturday’s recreation in opposition to the Golden State Warriors.

However there’s no escaping it.

So, take a minute to replicate on the truth that sure, it sucks, after which take care of it, was Raptors head coach Nick Nurse’s eminently wise take:

“I’m like anyone, everyone’s bought a second of balancing out being disenchanted since you need issues to remain the way in which they’re or enhance and so they’re simply not proper now,” he mentioned Thursday. “[But] frequent sense prevails all the time along with your needs or your hopes and also you gotta simply alter your mindset slightly bit. [It] takes you slightly bit to let that transfer by you. … (However) the sport’s nonetheless there to be performed and we want do our greatest, {most professional} job with that.”

He regarded equally on life getting extra difficult after having the ability to transfer extra freely for the previous three or 4 months. He mentioned the Raptors have been forward of the [under discussion] NBA and NBPA’s mandates on ramping up testing and protocols. It’s not anybody’s first alternative, however once more, take into account the choice: “Yeah, you’re first response is ‘Ah, extra testing’ and also you recover from that after about in the future or 5 minutes or no matter and understand that you just’re doing the fitting factor.

“I simply assume it’s all of ours – our group, no matter – responsibility to do the utmost we are able to so we are able to maintain everybody as protected as attainable.”


The Raptors did get some excellent news on Thursday as they’d a observe with as near their full workforce as they’ve had at any level this season.

Dalano Banton is again and in good type after being held out of a game-and-a-half on account of an unspecified although not COVID-related sickness; whereas Khem Birch (knee), OG Anunoby (hip) and Treasured Achiuwa (shoulder, health-and-safety protocols) had been all at observe. They’ll proceed to be listed as “questionable,” Nurse mentioned, till everyone seems to be glad they arrive by consecutive observe days with no ill-effects.

Remarkably, the Raptors have but to have Birch, Anunoby, Siakam and Yuta Watanabe – three starters and probably their sixth man – accessible for a single recreation this season.


The Raptors had been in Brooklyn when the Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry was simply throughout the bridge in Madison Sq. Backyard setting the NBA document for made threes in a their win over the New York Knicks. It was attention-grabbing to listen to Raptors guard Fred VanVleet replicate on Curry’s impression on the sport and on his personal place within the NBA as a smaller participant who has used the power to shoot from nicely past the three-point line to carve out a distinct segment after which thrive.

“He is made it attainable for me to be within the NBA initially … I’m unsure my profession would look the identical if I wasn’t allowed to take the threes that I am allowed to take and work on my recreation that method, to have the ability to broaden my recreation,” mentioned VanVleet, who’s on tempo to interrupt Kyle Lowry’s Raptors document of 238 made threes in a season. “I bear in mind being in faculty, me and my assistant coach … we might watch their video games, we might research his movie and we might go work out and attempt to see how we may implement a few of the issues, and clearly he is bought a particular present when it comes to taking pictures the ball, however it’s greater than that as a participant. … Steph is unquestionably a kind of guys that I’ve taken loads from to attempt to add to as greatest as I can.”


Late-game offense has been a problem for the Raptors at occasions this season – most notably how their offense sputtered down the stretch in opposition to the undermanned Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday evening, the place they shot simply 35 per cent within the final 5 minutes of the fourth quarter and additional time.

On the season, they’ve been greater than respectable with an offensive ranking of 115.9, which is eighth within the league and higher than their total offensive ranking of 109.6, which is eleventh. Given the Raptors’ damage points and that they lack what could be generally outlined as a high-end nearer, that their offense ticks up late in shut video games isn’t any imply feat.

Nurse says that whereas some gamers are extra prepared and in a position to take the type of tough pictures that may be wanted in late-game, late-clock conditions, having extra guys on the ground who’re comfy within the second is one thing they work on.

“I do attempt to consider it. We truly do fairly a little bit of it in drill work,” he mentioned. “You may see the extent at which guys can do it. It’s not a simple factor. There are a number of layers to it. One is getting the rhythm of it. Are you able to get a shot off? Some guys – when guys are draped on them – can squeeze pictures off, and that’s actually essential. The worst factor is to not get a shot in any respect. That’s a troublesome ability to have [to get off contested shots]. Not everybody has that ability.

“The opposite half for me is: I’ve all the time thought there’s a option to exploit matchups or go together with guys that individuals aren’t anticipating as nicely. I most likely are inclined to imagine in too many individuals [having a chance at the last shot] versus the opposite method round. It’s all the time type of been that method. It’s one thing we practise and attempt to coach up.”

The important thing additionally, mentioned VanVleet, who had an 18-footer to win the sport in regulation however missed all the things, is to remain calm and have a brief reminiscence.

“You simply bought to be in these conditions and see what works,” he mentioned. “I imply, I’ve made large pictures. I air-balled the opposite evening, , it is the way in which it goes, like I’ve made some and I’ve missed some, ? Generally you are the hero typically you get talked about for a few days, after which it wears off you go to the subsequent recreation, so I positively was in a position to snigger about it and , get joked on about it by my individuals, however it simply comes with the territory.

“I feel it is a psychological factor and simply having the method that for those who put the work in and your teammates imagine in you, your coaches imagine in you, you go on the market and provides it your greatest and the remaining, will fall the place it falls.”


Golden State (23-5) performs Friday evening in opposition to the Boston Celtics earlier than travelling to Toronto. In line with stories, they could relaxation veteran stars Steph Curry and Draymond Inexperienced and possibly others in opposition to the Raptors. Golden State hasn’t performed in Toronto since Sport 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. The Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins hasn’t performed in his residence market since Jan. 30, 2018. The Warriors known as up Klay Thompson and James Wiseman from their G-League workforce on Wednesday, inflicting hypothesis that the veteran sharpshooter and the second-year large had been poised to make their return from long-term accidents, however the newest is that it could be till after Christmas earlier than they take the ground.



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