Wednesday, January 19, 2022
HomeSportsWith Raptors comparatively wholesome, VanVleet says it is time to 'ramp it...

With Raptors comparatively wholesome, VanVleet says it is time to ‘ramp it again up’


TORONTO – When you’ve been watching the Toronto Raptors over the past couple of video games and have checked Twitter whereas the sport is happening, you’ve seemingly seen a sure sidelined-by-health-and-safety-protocols Raptors star in Fred VanVleet tweeting proper alongside there with you.

A enjoyable addition to a few video games that noticed the Raptors decimated by COVID protocols and endure anticipated losses – though the matchup Tuesday in opposition to the Philadelphia 76ers was, very encouragingly, spirited and aggressive.

When you had been hoping this could develop into a extra common factor from VanVleet, although, don’t count on it. As he put it, he was simply tweeting to assist kill time and sure gained’t be opening up the app once more anytime quickly to ship out extra messages.

“Boredom, for certain. I’m nonetheless mad at myself … that’s most likely probably the most I’ve posted and tweeted and been on Twitter and been on the web in a number of years now,” stated VanVleet on Thursday. “That’s after I knew it was time for me to get again enjoying as a result of I used to be working out of issues to do. Simply wanted some consideration, you understand how you want that focus you get on the web actual fast, I acquired my share of it and acquired off.

“Hopefully, no extra tweets from me any time quickly.”

And barring unexpected setbacks, there gained’t be any tweets from VanVleet, similar to he needs – no less than throughout Raptors video games – as a result of he, together with fellow key Raptors OG Anunoby and Scottie Barnes, had been cleared from COVID protocols and took part in observe Thursday.

In whole, this brings a group that as just lately as Sunday might play solely 4 regulars and 4 replacements, to 1 anticipating to have everybody accessible for his or her New 12 months’s Eve sport in opposition to the Los Angeles Clippers, with the attainable exception of Justin Champagnie and Isaac Bonga, who haven’t cleared protocols and didn’t observe Thursday.

The Raptors, in the end, are trying like they’ll be ringing within the new 12 months with a group as absolutely loaded because it’s ever been all season, with coach Nick Nurse having to make powerful choices along with his beginning lineup that he hasn’t had the luxurious to mull for the reason that begin of the season.

“I believe there’s most likely seven guys there,” Nurse stated Thursday, when requested who he was considering of beginning on Friday. He listed VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Barnes, Valuable Achiuwa and Khem Birch as gamers who’re all “what I might contemplate starters. The way it shakes out tomorrow, we’ll see.”

Sure, how issues do find yourself enjoying out on Friday shall be most attention-grabbing as a result of it’s one thing that almost everybody who has tuned into the Raptors no less than semi-regularly this season has been questioning about as effectively.

Siakam started the season on the injured record recovering from low season shoulder surgical procedure. Anunoby had a pesky hip pointer damage that simply wouldn’t go away. Birch has handled swelling in his knee. Barnes missed a pair video games with a thumb damage. After which the well being and security protocols hit and compelled the Raptors to postpone video games and play severely shorthanded in others, with, basically, the entire group’s key gamers compelled to take a seat out.

The Raptors seem to have moved previous that and are able to lastly see what this group can do with all the primary substances accessible within the pantry.

“I’m optimistic that it’s going to look good, that it’s going to work, that it might work. I’m not fearful, I’m not nervous about it. We’ve simply acquired to see it. We’ve acquired to get on the market in a sport and put it collectively,” stated VanVleet. “All people has had their probability. Guys have missed video games at totally different factors for various causes, and now it’s sort of our probability to get again as wholesome as attainable on this little stretch proper right here, put collectively some good momentum, possibly go on a run, and simply begin enjoying some good basketball constantly and attempt to journey it out so long as we will. … I really feel like if we’ve our full group, we’ve our probability each night time. That’s a superb feeling to have.”

At the moment sitting on a 14-17 file and in a tie with the Boston Celtics for tenth within the Jap Convention (the ultimate play-in spot), however simply 2.5 video games out of sixth place (the ultimate playoff spot without having to undergo the play-in match), the Raptors are in fairly good place, even when they haven’t racked up as many wins as they might’ve favored.

So, with the roster returning to full power, there seems to be no higher time than now for the Raptors go on a run to extra assertively place themselves for a playoff spot.

“There’s greater than sufficient time,” stated Trent. “Nevertheless it’s laborious to win within the NBA. … There may be numerous time left, nonetheless far more to the season. We’ve acquired loads to show, we’ve acquired loads to go, we’ve acquired loads to indicate from everyone, our gamers, our teaching workers. We’re prepared, we’re able to get wholesome and get into the complete swing of issues. So, we’re all excited.”

Added VanVleet: “I really feel nice about what’s occurring on this health club and the group that we’ve and having just about all of our most important guys be in protocols for a time period, and now we’re trying and hoping to be on the opposite facet of that quickly. Getting everyone again, everyone wholesome, as a result of we haven’t actually had a full group this 12 months.

“So, actually, we’re not glad with our file and a number of the video games that we’ve misplaced this 12 months, however I believe that is our probability after sort of a reset interval to sort of ramp it again up. Form of a recent begin to construct some optimistic momentum going ahead, and everyone is best at present than we had been initially of the season, and that’s all you may ask for.”

No extra tweeting from the sofa for VanVleet. It’s time to get again on the market and attempt to assist his Raptors get again to the post-season.

Fast dribbles

On Friday, when the Clippers go to the Raptors, it’s going to mark the primary time since he departed in free company in 2020 that Serge Ibaka will return to Scotiabank Area.

An integral a part of the Raptors’ 2019 championship run – bear in mind the shot earlier than the shot? – Ibaka will certainly obtain a loud standing ovation when he will get his inevitable tribute from the Raptors devoted – even with restricted capability.

Right here’s Nurse on the impression Ibaka had on the group:

“Serge was actually, actually essential. I throw him within the record of particular gamers that we had. The blokes that had been simply actually distinctive to the sport, and, as I stated, when Serge acquired going and was in his A-game ingredient, man, we rarely misplaced.”

And right here’s VanVleet on his former teammate:

“Serge is unbelievable. He was unbelievable in his time right here. He taught us younger guys a lot about routine. He led by instance loads and caring for his physique, the work that he put in, the time and craft that he places into himself as an individual and as a participant is unbelievable. And that’s earlier than you even get to his play on the courtroom.

“I believe Serge is one other a type of guys who acquired caught up within the greatness of what that group was. You don’t actually see it till he left. Now you may see how a lot he did for us, particularly on the courtroom. He’s an all-time massive man on this league at that spot, with the talent set, the defence, the capturing.”



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