Raptors Win Over Warriors Feels Very Familiar

The most recent excitement surrounding the Toronto Raptors has been their blowout win against the Golden State Warriors. It was so significant that it even garnered media attention south of the border. Guys like Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe and Max Kellerman are all saying that they’ve been the most impressive of the season.

It took beating the Warriors without Kawhi Leonard to be considered the best team in the Eastern conference. Because of this, the victory has been widely recognized as the best win in the team’s history.

An impressive statement win, it put this version of the Raptors in the very top tier of the NBA. However, this victory is the epitome of Raptors basketball. Kill the competition in the regular season and get wiped out in the playoffs by a Lebron shaped meteor. Obviously with Lebron out west, the leaders of the East wouldn’t meet him until The Finals but there is still some cause for concern. 

In each of the past five seasons, the Raptors have won better than 48 games yet have little playoff success to come from it. Since the 2013-14 season, they’ve made the Conference Finals only one time while sporting an 18-30 record while losing five of their nine playoff matchups including getting swept three times.

It seems like once a year, there is a big game that makes everyone feel like the Raptors are for real. Last season it was the late season triumph in Toronto against a Houston Rockets team who had won 17 straight going into that March contest. Just like after Thursday’s win against the Warriors, nine months ago, the media was saying that “this year could be different” and “this isn’t the same Raptors team”. 

We’ve reached this peak moment so early in the season that until the playoffs come, there won’t be much meaning placed on the rest of the regular season. Hopefully this is the year that the Raptors playoff collapses come to an end but with their expectations being high as they’ve ever been, it’s not crazy to think of underperformance as a possibility.

I’m not sure whether I’m a pessimist or a realist but something feels oddly familiar about this high Raptors fans have been riding.