The Raptors are where they are, it’s not a pretty place. Time to deal with it

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The less said about the debacle in Cleveland, the better. Mostly because we’ve talked about every contingency, every reason they played and all that palaver and I don’t think there’s any need to rehash it here.

A lot of it is in the story I wrote off the game, some of it’s been written many a time before. We are where we are, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to change any time soon even if so many think it should and maybe it’s time to deal with what is the reality.

That’s after we wrap up some of the basketball stuff from last night.

THREE POINTERS

Lessons learned?

I can’t see a way any of the four 10-day guys are going to stick here for the rest of year but they might have a chance to make a difference in the next little while.
So, can they be of any help?

Nick Nurse was predictably happy with each of them in a variety of ways; he liked D.J. Wilson’s overall game, lauded Tremont Waters for making a couple of threes and thought Juwan Morgan and Daniel Oturu “did okay” once the game got out of hand.

The big thing is what they might be able to provide tomorrow or Friday or even next Sunday until the Raptors get some regulars back.
“We’ll get to know these guys a little bit and see where we can take ‘em,” Nick said.

But being about $250,000 below the luxury tax line and with 16 players under contract, it’s wrong to think the Raptors are going to go into the tax for any of them on even minimum salary deals the rest of the way.

So barring other money-saving transactions, which are unlikely in the next couple of weeks, these will be short stints in Toronto.

Get some run in

In response to the “what could you possible get out of a game like that” question, Nick took a bit to come up with something but conditioning seemed to be No. 1.

None of the players had gone at full speed five-on-five in more than a week and getting them back to some semblance of game shape is pretty important.

That was especially true for Dalano Banton, the only one to get out of protocols to play.

“It’s the first time in a while for him that he’s been able to run. He played 23 minutes, we were kind of shooting for 24, 25 for him tonight just to get his feet under him a little bit. So he’ll get back in shape and get feeling good and his wind back and get his feel back I’m sure but it was at least a chance for him to do that tonight.”

That’s a necessarily low bar.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Indeed

Yuta Watanabe’s Christmas?

“Nothing. I flew in here last night and I ate my food in my room by myself. So that’s a great way to spend time on Christmas.”

And yeah, that’s horrible and I presume quite lonely and I don’t envy him or anyone else in the Raptors travelling party who spent Saturday night exactly the same way in a Cleveland hotel, as comfortable as the room may have been.

But I also don’t envy anyone anywhere who had much the same experience thanks to either COVID isolation rules regarding close contact with someone who is contagious or because they tested positive themselves.

This is an insidious, pain-in-the-butt, fun-robbing virus that is all around us and if there’s anyone out there rightfully feeling sorry for Yuta or any of his teammates or coaches or support staff who had the same Christmas night experience, I’d hope we all realize the quickest way out of this is to follow all the science and take all the precaution and maybe, eventually, we won’t all go “aw, that sucks” when anyone lays bare how crappy things can be.

And, no, I’m not going to stop harping on this point because it cannot be hammered too often or too loudly.

Okay, put that one to bed, get ready to cover Philly tomorrow and the Clippers on Friday and lay low in between, that’s likely my week.

And while laying low I may as well goof around on the New Year’s mail – Ye New Mailbag, I guess – so if you want to click on [email protected] and let me know what’s on your mind, that’d be fine.

You did well filling yesterday’s file, let’s see how well you can do kicking off 2022.

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