Toronto Raptors Players-Only Meeting Rights The Ship

Getting blown out for two consecutive games isn't something the Toronto Raptors are used to. So on Friday night, after a lopsided loss to the Brooklyn Nets, three team veterans called a players-only meeting to try to stop the bleeding. 

Of particular concern was the slow starts. Brooklyn had jumped out to a 41-17 lead on Friday night. As 34-year-old veteran Thad Young put it, the players discussed the need to “come out and throw the first punch. When we throw the first punch it makes us a completely different team, a better team. 

"If we’re aggressive then we’re making sure that we have [the other team on its] heels as opposed to us being on our heels all game."

It apparently worked, as less than 24 hours later, the Raptors soared to a first-quarter 36-22 lead over the Orlando Magic, and indeed kept them on their heels the entire game, opening up leads of 30+ points before settling for a 121-108 victory. 

“Nobody really likes to be harping, yelling, cussing or fussing around here so I think some things just go unsaid [sometimes],” VanVleet told TSN. “And there are times when you need to say it out loud, let people know what our standards are around here and just tighten the ship a little bit. We’re not going to win all the games, we know that, but there’s certain ways that you want to [play] every night and those two games were just unacceptable.”

Message delivered. 

OG Anunoby (32 points), Pascal Siakam (26 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds) and Scottie Barnes (17 points, 14 rebounds) made sure the Raptors were in command the entire game. 

Photo: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports