As Toronto residents woke up Sunday morning frantically searching for a hockey-hangover cure, it wouldn’t be long for them to come across the flip-side vibe of its basketball franchise.
The Toronto Raptors accomplished their first mission soon after the Rudy Gay system-saving trade, as finally the message of sharing the rock was instilled in the team. Next on the docket was climbing the ranks of respect in the minds of the elite clubs, handing the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers some of their most contested battles of the regular season.
They put the NBA on notice. A winning blueprint was drafted and was soon to be followed up by securing the organization’s first playoff-berth since 2008.
What’s left to conquer? Well, a division crown is within its sights. At the forefront is being able to pass the consistency test, something the team failed to do five days prior in a poor performance.
As much as the naysayers will pause for concern over the blown lead on Sunday night against the Orlando Magic, what should be held in high regard is the on-the-road resilience shown in tying a franchise record with their 20th victory of the season on the road.
In the NBA’s stretch run, mastering the “gut-check” is an ongoing battle for any team. At this stage in the game, passing with flying colors is not expected, and displaying the fortitude is what makes a playoff-caliber squad prepared for the slugfest better known as the NBA Playoffs.
Orlando will see better days, but on this night, it was all about Toronto getting to the finish line of the consistency grind.