In the face of a growing list of injuries and fresh off three straight intense matchups, the Raptors endured perhaps their most enlightening wire-to-wire loss of the season on Wednesday.
With no Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza or Jerryd Bayless in the lineup, the Raptors’ already slim margin of error got even leaner, but to their credit, they chose fight over flight for a fourth straight game and cut the Spurs’ advantage to 97-96 with four minutes to play.
It was a familiar lack of late-game execution that handed the Raptors a 113-106 defeat, but their effort didn’t go unnoticed.
“I thought that Toronto was right there,” said Spurs head coach Greg Popovic. “They’ve had some tough luck the last couple of games, but they are playing terrific defence, they are playing together on offence.”
“It’s going to happen; it’s going to happen for those guys,”
Solid praise for an opponent that’s not exactly uncommon from a victorious head coach after a close win, but it’s clear many of those in our in-game discussion on Twitter seemed to agree.
Our #RTZ Tweet of the Night from @ansonhenry is a prime example.
Dwane Casey doesn’t seem to be one who’s ever “OK” with anything that involves an addition to the loss column, but like Anson, the Raptors head coach can see the value his young team simply having a chance to win.
“Like I said last night, it’s going to help us once we get our program in the right spot,” Casey said post-game. “We want to continue this culture of playing hard, competing and putting ourselves in position. What we have to learn how to do is execute.”
Consider Wednesday’s loss another step on the road to higher learning.