Raptors rise to sixth in East despite another 2020’s moment

Remember Nelly's "Hot in Herre" music video where the roof was on fire? That kind of happened at a Raptors game.

Remember Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” music video where the roof was on fire? That kind of happened at a Raptors game.

It’s been over two years of completely unexpected occurrences in sports, so just add another oddity to the list. From a game perspective, Toronto won by 40 and now have sole possession of the six seed because Chicago beat Cleveland. The Raptors have also clinched a winning season for the eighth time in nine years (technically Toronto is 8-for-8 and Tampa is 0-for-1 but I digress). From a public safety standpoint, good news that nobody was harmed from a speaker being on fire. Mix in some epic goofy commentary and it was a hell of a night to break down.

Ball Movement

The first 20 minutes may have been the most aesthetically pleasing basketball the Raptors have played all season. Indiana gave a lot of zone looks early, leading to four threes by OG Anunoby (7-13 since returning from injury). Both OG and Pascal Siakam had 11 first quarter points. Toronto dished out 17 assists to just one turnover before the stoppage, and the ball was popping everywhere.

Enter Precious Achiuwa, who came in on a rare slump of late from three (0-8 last two games). Achiuwa mentioned after the game that he passed up his first good look and teammates got on him during the next timeout. “You gotta shoot that. You HAVE to,” Precious recalled.

So he did. And that process repeated.

Achiuwa made his first four three point attempts, tying a career-high in a game that he recently set in Denver. The Raptors as a whole began the game 9-14 from three.

Indiana is a bottom five team in defensive rating, proving why with atrocious transition defence. Here’s one more example below featuring Siakam, whose seven assists matched Scottie Barnes for a team high.

Let’s Get Weird

So that’s how things got to 66-38, well into blowout mode. As the second quarter went along, players started to notice sections emptying out and were confused. Achiuwa originally thought somebody was sick until he caught the scent. Nick Nurse was one of the last to know.

“I was like geez, they didn’t sell that whole…I wonder why they didn’t sell those seats tonight, that was my first thing like wait a minute. There’s got to be a big group coming late right? Then I saw the firemen standing there,” Nurse said.

The delay took an hour and nine minutes, shoutout to the fire department for getting everything back in order. Some players reportedly checked out March Madness games. Armoni Brooks said he listened to music to stay locked in and Achiuwa started his whole pre-game routine over again.

Oshae Brissett was a lone bright spot for Indiana, scoring 11 points in the first seven minutes and finishing with 21. He decided to hit up the socials.

Fans were gone for good when the smoke cleared (pun intended). However, at least it’s going to ultimately result in a near half of free basketball. Not sure how that works for the secondary market.

Fred VanVleet also didn’t return to the game after the delay, which was the right move. There was no point while he is still nursing that ailing knee. Barnes and Siakam led the team with 31 minutes so from the workload couldn’t be any more ideal.

Raptors After Dark

If you didn’t return to the broadcast post delay, please check out this Jack Armstrong clip. Matt Devlin helped to ensure it will be an all-timer.

That’s going in the archives, similar to Devlin vs Wale years ago.

What’s Next?

Boston has been the hottest team in the league for a while. The Raptors will have some work to do on Monday to keep that six spot.