The preseason doubts - injury concerns, the productivity of the bench players, the lack of offensive output, a seemingly lacklustre defence - for one opening night anyways, many (if not all) of the questions were answered.
Facing their divisional rivals from Philadelphia who are supposed to knock the Raptors from that runner-up status in the Atlantic (a division which, btw, looks outstanding right out the gate!), the Raptors put it together for a much deserved win. A shaky first quarter was corrected in the next three, putting together a game that every Raps fan was hoping for. While a forgettable and forgivable loss on the part of the preoccupied Sixers fans, who were definitely more focused on the pending World Series win than anything taking place on the court, it was a big move in the right direction for the faithful in Toronto. Pretty certain that sighs of relief could be heard right across the entire city at the conclusion of this game.
It's just the season opener yes, but I can't understate the importance of the win - even if it was just one win. With many doubts arising heading into this game, the calls of concern mounting, things could have gone sour real quick for the Raptors (they were already heading that way it seemed so it would not have taken much). I mean it's not like the Toronto sports media has EVER jumped the gun in regards to its own teams in the past...but anyways, I would find it hard to be all that pessimistic after last nights effort, even for the skeptical. Yes there are still some glaring issues to be addressed (rebounds most specifically, as Toronto was beaten on the boards to a tune of 56-33), however the positives certainly outweighed the negatives last night.
So far so good, take it one game at a time, insert any sports cliche here you want first impressions are still important, and with the way the preseason went a poor outing last night would have been toxic for this newly adjusted squad. But the Raptors survived their first test of the season - and it was a real test against a much improved Sixers team. So congrats to the Toronto team and don't worry, the city has not abandoned you just yet!
Peter Karmanos replaced on NHL executive committee
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