These handful of days, the ones between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve, are some of the worst, weirdest days of the year. Christmas is over, which sucks unless you are a misanthrope. New Year's Day, a moment resplendent with renewal and hope, is still a ways off. And your office is maybe open, which means you, like me, are sitting in a cubicle wondering what the hell you're supposed to do until Thursday (before you're given another day off; I was off Monday, which explains this column being a day late).
Also, it's snowing and raining and grey and miserable outside. Let's just get to 2016 and look ahead to a new year already.
Right, where was I? Oh yeah, power rankings! The NBA is still going on these days, if you can believe it. The Raptors won a few in and around Christmas, but then lost last night to the Bulls (expected). They've got one more measly game in 2015, against the Washington Wizards, before tromping into January with... oh I don't know. It's Tuesday of a holiday-shortened, nothing week. Let's just get to the rankings.
Yes, this is good. Team good. Feels good. Hmmmm. Good.
What does Jeremy Woo of the Illustrated Sports have for us? Let's see:
6) TORONTO RAPTORS
LAST WEEK: 7
RECORD: 19-12 (2-0)
DeMar DeRozan extended his streak of 20-point games to nine, Bismack Biyombo extended his streak of 12-rebound games to six, Jonas Valanciunas is ready to return, and the Raptors took care of business in a short week.
This is one long categorically correct sentence. End of reporting.
Surely John Schuhmann of NBA.com, my nemesis though he doesn't realize it, will add something:
8) Toronto Raptors
Last week: 10
Pace: 95.9 (26) OffRtg: 104.0 (4) DefRtg: 100.2 (10) NetRtg: +3.8 (6)
The Raptors are nearly whole again. DeMarre Carroll returned from a bruised knee on Saturday and Jonas Valanciunas should return from his broken hand this week. Bismack Biyombo has filled in surprisingly well though, averaging 11.7 rebounds as a starter, grabbing a career-high 20 in Tuesday's win over Dallas, and occasionally catching the passes thrown to him. The Raps have gone 11-6 without Valanciunas.
Excellent dig at Biyombo's lack of hands. These Raptors know how to take a joke, at least. What of it?
And now, for the final time in 2015, we prepare to fight Matt Moore of CBS Sports with our bare hands:
8) Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 10)
One of the reasons I remain so high on the Raptors is how consistent they are. In a sea of wind socks in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, the Raptors play the same way most nights. Even their boilerplate "letdown" losses like the one to the Kings are worked into the formula and don't feel like wild swings.
An ocean of windsocks, filled with fish socks of the sea. Truly, a horrifying image. Boilerplate, formula, boxing metaphor. I can't stay mad at you, Matt.
And now, once more we throw this content into the void and head for the poll.