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Mental toughness won’t be an issue with this group, at least with its core players, and nor will coaching.
There’s a swagger only championship teams acquire and a belief that no game against any foe can’t be won.
In Utah, the Raptors were a plus-19 when it came to controlling the glass, but they also turned the ball 18 times.
Siakam and Ibaka posted double-doubles, while Hollis-Jefferson hauled down 10 rebounds.
When the season was suspended, only the L.A. Lakers, Toronto’s opponent Saturday when the Raps resume play, and the Milwaukee Bucks had better records.
When the season went on pause, the Raptors tied with the L.A. Clippers for third-best in points differential.
LeBron’s Lakers, who likely won’t have Anthony Davis on board, Miami, Orlando, Boston, Memphis with former Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas, Milwaukee, Philly and Denver, form what can be liberally described as the elite eight opponents the Raptors will face before the playoffs begin.
The key is to avoid injury.
At this point, the Raptors aren’t going to change their identity, nor should they. They’re a team that can play any style of game, a resilient team that won’t beat itself, a versatile team that can go big with a frontcourt featuring Gasol, Ibaka and Siakam or play small with Siakam as a stretch centre.
For now, what isn’t known and what can’t be known until the playoffs begin is what kind of impact a Terence Davis II will have, how deep will head coach Nick Nurse go into his bench or if Matt Thomas can drain a game-winner from beyond the arc.