The Raptors are fun … but still losing

The Raptors are new and exciting, but we're still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

New TVs have terrible speakers. I spent a long time watching movies on a new, tinny-sounding television, not caring about the sound quality. Then I bought a cheap sound bar and marveled at the depth and range of the audio... for approximately the length of time it took to watch one movie. By the end, the new and great had become old hat once more. All this to say, it doesn't take long for what’s new to become old once more. 

The Toronto Raptors might be in that boat once again. Immediately after making the trade for Immanuel Quickley and RJ Barrett, the Raptors were more fun than a trampoline. Then, very quickly, they were good. They won their first two games after the trade. Now Toronto is, once again, not particularly good. They are now 3-5 since the trade with, yes, solutions to old problems -- but also plenty of new problems, too

And the Raptors actually played quite a solid game against the Boston Celtics. 

Thad Young is not the most mobile defender, but he found his way into the game. He drew charges as the tagger by getting to his spot exceptionally early. He tipped away entry passes and dribbles for steals.

Darko Rajakovic also found impressive ways to improve Toronto’s defense. Defensive rebounding has been a huge problem in recent games without Jakob Poeltl (and playing lots of zone to protect undersized centers), and it has been made worse with Scottie Barnes having to guard smaller players and finding himself out of defensive rebounding position. Rajakovic addressed it pregame, and the switch was to match Barnes with Jayson Tatum rather than a guard, keeping him closer to the rim. 

He finished with nine rebounds in the first half -- more than he had in any single game since the trade. And in the second half, Toronto conceded the switch far less easily, with Barnes fighting through screens to stay with Tatum rather than picking up opposing smalls. Instead it was RJ Barrett often switching onto bigs, banging with Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford for Toronto. Toronto finished with 52 rebounds, its most since before the trade. It held Boston to just five offensive rebounds.