The 14 best Raptors moments from a nightmarish season

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The best worst team in NBA history had the best worst loss against the Washington Wizards on Thursday, and now the Toronto Raptors are all but eliminated from the playoffs. We are just a week away from pretending the Tampa Bay Raptors season never happened. Even in this absolutely nightmare of a season taking place in an absolutely nightmare time in the world, the Raptors have blessed us with some positive and fun moments this season.

Consider this a personal challenge to find at least 10 of these (shoutout Will Lou).

Kyle Lowry vs. the Brooklyn Nets

Kyle Lowry vs. the Los Angeles Lakers

Kyle Lowry’s “farewell” press conference

Kyle Lowry, who is somehow still a Toronto Raptor, gave us a few more moments for his Hall of Fame induction video this season. Most notably, I will remember his national television performance against the Brooklyn Nets in February (the “Kevin Durant can’t play because of health and safety protocols, actually he can, actually he can’t” game) when Lowry had 30 points, five rebounds and seven assists in a win. He outdid himself last Sunday against the Lakers, going for 37 points, 11 assists, and eight threes.

If this is it for Lowry in Toronto, I’ll remember him for giving the team so many of these signature performances over the years.

We’ll also have the “farewell” game against the Denver Nuggets in March when he was plus-42 in 33 minutes in a blowout win with a stat line of eight points, five rebounds, and nine assists, or as I call it, a typical Kyle Lowry box score.

Lowry also blessed us with an iconic 20-minute post-game presser featuring Drake:

Bring this man back for one more year so he can see the Gardiner Expressway again.

The all-women’s Raptors broadcast

Even Lowry’s potential “final game” couldn’t overshadow the all-women’s broadcast, which was such a breath of fresh air and should become a thing that happens much more regularly than just one night a year.

Specifically submitting Kia Nurse (an awesome broadcaster!) and her Jack Armstrong impersonation as a personal highlight from that broadcast:

An iconic Nick Nurse graphic

Wow, we’re already reaching. But seriously, I just want Nick Nurse’s merchandising team to know you need to drop a purple colorway of the NN hat. Yes, that’s a demand. If not, I’m going to bootleg my own. Get the cease-and-desist ready.

OG Anunoby vs. Dennis Schroder

This has officially replaced Lowry crawling between George Hill’s legs as my new favorite outlandish on-court Raptors moment. Also: OG Anunoby’s development this season has been a clear No. 1 highlight for me.

Sergio Scariolo makes his NBA head coaching debut and gets the game ball

The circumstances that led to Scariolo becoming the temporary head coach of the Raptors were less than ideal, but it did give us this awesome behind-the-scenes moment. Another reason to bring back Lowry: no one is more aware of securing game balls for other people than him.

Alex Len helps secure the first win in Tampa Bay Raptors history

So much has happened since. The New York Knicks might have home-court advantage in the first round. Alex Len is a Wizard. We’ll always have this game to remember him by.

Fred VanVleet’s 54-point game vs. Orlando

Fred VanVleet has been a bright spot for the Raptors this season. Outside of a stretch where he dealt with COVID and injuries, he’s played at an All-Star level and has emerged as a vocal leader and voice of the team.

I will miss watching him do things like this in the playoffs:

“Court-Side Moms” podcast

The addition of Khem Birch has been great on the court and provided us with more Raptors content via the “Court-Side Moms” podcast hosted by Wendy Sparks, a.k.a Birch’s mom. Her latest episode with Lowry’s mom Marie Holloway is a must-listen for any Raptors fan. Moms are the best. Every writer knows this. If you are writing a profile of a player, talk to their mom. They always have the best stories.

Freddie Gillespie’s “Party in the USA” performance

(I feel like Miley Cyrus’s PR team is trying to take down all evidence of Freddie’s iconic performance so if the above video doesn’t work, just roll with it)

The first two weeks of Gary Trent Jr.’s Raptor career

I’m not sure we’ve seen a hotter start to a Raptor player’s career than this. From the minute he arrived in Tampa and recorded his first “We The North” video to setting career highs and hitting game-winners. I absolutely can’t wait for him to touch down in Toronto finally. Another strong candidate to replace Ibaka as the top content-man on the team.

Norman Powell’s Players’ Tribune essay

An all-time “Toronto athlete writing about Toronto” essay. Hang a copy of it in the Scotiabank Arena rafters.

‘Are You A Toronto Mans’ quiz

I can’t find the iconic Jalen Harris “We The North” video online anymore (Is this a mystery I need to dive into this offseason?). This Toronto Mans quiz is up there for the best Raptors content of the season.

Alright, I did it.

Now let’s get these guys back to Toronto and start the revenge season tour in October at Scotiabank Arena.

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