On the night of Rudy Gay‘s return, the Toronto Raptors did not greet him warmly, nor did they leave him with a pleasant parting gift. Instead, they ransacked his new team, the Sacramento Kings, to a 99-87 victory. The win meant more than beating Gay, who Toronto traded to Sacramento earlier in the season. It helped the Raptors increase their lead for the third spot in the NBA East as the Chicago Bulls fell to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The key to Toronto’s success wasn’t in one superstar or two players, it was the combination of five players in double figures and 10 three-pointers that made the Raptors victorious. Patrick Patterson was the X-factor off the bench, going 3-4 from deep and 6-8 overall for 15 points.
As the surprise in the East, Toronto has nothing to lose and that might be their biggest advantage. However, the key to their success lies in their style of play, and that would be team basketball. Five players were in double-figures and nine players in total scored; they had 21 team assists and shot 48 percent from downtown. It was against the Kings, but that is the type of basketball the Raptors will need to play to succeed, with Kyle Lowry leading the way.
Toronto is sitting in a nice position right now, because they are quietly occupying third place in the East and they aren’t drawing that much attention to themselves. Teams like the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat should take a close look, because it is more than likely that the Raptors will face one of the two in the second round of the playoffs.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantSports, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.