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Raptors Continue to Show Positive Signs in Preseason Loss to Celtics

The Toronto Raptors are a work in progress.

The expectations going into this upcoming season are lower than they have been in quite some time and when it comes to the team’s level of play, Nick Nurse keeps things very simple when asked about what he expects from his team.

“When you come and watch us play you should see a group really going at it and trying to guard and defend and flying around, and you should leave the game saying ‘man, that was fun to watch’”, explained the Raptors head coach before the start of the team’s third preseason game against the Boston Celtics. “That’s really all I’m asking for (and we’ll) see what happens from there.”

As the opening night roster continues to shape, the Raptors continue to play hard – a trait that has become a trademark under Masai Ujiri’s watch. The Raptors may have fallen short on Saturday night, losing by a score of 113-111 to the Celtics, but there continue to be many positives for Nurse to take away from his team’s games.

“Well we want to play hard. I think that certainly we want it to be one of our things,” said Nurse. “I still think playing hard in this league takes you a long ways and I think when you’ve got a young team, you’ve gotta use some of that youthful energy and things like that. We did play hard. It was super entertaining. I would have bought tickets to watch that game tonight.”

OG Anunoby once again put together a solid performance, amassing 17 points, while Fred VanVleet led all scores with 22 points, adding five assists in the loss. Precious Achiuwa continued his strong preseason play with a 13 point, 13 rebound double-double.

“We should be a playoff team. We should definitely be aiming for the playoffs,” said VanVleet. “I think we’ve got a long way to go, we’ve got a lot of guys we’ve got to bring along, but I think the goal should be to scrap and claw and be one of the teams that nobody likes to play against every night. Whether that’s being long at every position and being athletic and flying around, winning a bunch of games, and then towards the end of the season you never know what could happen.

“So I think we’ve just gotta give ourselves a chance but we should definitely be aiming high because anything can happen once you get to the post-season.”

At the end of the day, this is a very youthful Raptors team and as they continue to flash potential on a nightly basis, there is plenty of things to look forward to in the future.

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