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The Rap-Up: Games for the Holidays

What better way to spend your holidays then by previewing and predicting his week’s Raptors games with remixed Christmas tunes.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through Street Bay,

The Raptors were stirring ‘cause they had no game the next day.

The division banners were hung by the rafters with care,

In hopes that Larry O’Brien’s would soon be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

Wearing their CJ’s PJs and awaiting Big Red.

Inside Scotiabank Arena there arose such a clatter,

Masai sprang from his office to see what was the matter.

Mafuzzy Ibaka was cooking up a storm,

No one could tell why Kawhi was laughing with Norm.

Kyle joined in the fun dressed as a big-booty elf,

Freddy V won at poker ‘cause he bet on himself.

Danny brought his snakes, made OG and Delon scream,

Spicy P made sandwiches for the entire team.

JV’s thumb in a cast, still managed to let loose,

Who needs reindeers at all? We already have Moose.

Saint Nick was even there, but his team called him Nurse.

He was boasting about how things couldn’t get worse.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

Promised things would go up, up, up like a missile.

Masai heard Nurse exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,


December 26 @ Miami Heat

Oh, the Raptors injuries are frightful,

But their record is so delightful.

Since we don’t play the day befo’,

Let’s Beat Spo’, Let’s Beat Spo’, Let’s Beat Spo’.

The Raptors don’t show signs of stoppin’,

You’d better bring some corn for poppin’.

The Heat is turned way down low,

Let’s Beat Spo’, Let’s Beat Spo’, Let’s Beat Spo’.


When these teams met in Toronto almost exactly one month ago (November 25th), it was a tale of two lineups. All five starters for the Raptors were at least +19. For the Heat, three of their four bench players were +11, except for Bam Adebayo, who hauled in 21(!) rebounds. Toronto pulled out a 10-point victory. This time around may be different as JV’s presence will be sorely missed. Miami has the worst FG% in the NBA, but make up for that by ranking fourth in offensive rebounds — a huge weakness for a Raptors squad that ranks second-last in offensive rebounds allowed. The Heat are also riding a season-high five-game win streak, including victories over the Grizzlies, Pelicans, Rockets, and Bucks. The Milwaukee game was especially impressive, as Miami held them to a season-low 87 points, while limiting Giannis Antetokounmpo to a season-low nine points on 3-for-12 shooting. The Heat bring the... uhhh... heat and scorch the Raptors, 105-99.

December 28 @ Orlando Magic

Last Christmas, we were number one,

But the very next year, our Christmas game count’s still none.

This year, to save us from tears,

We’ll just win the ‘Ship next Summer.

Last Christmas, we still had DeMar,

But the very next year, Kawhi is our star.

This year, to save us from tears,

He’ll re-sign with us next Summer.


The Raptors have won the last five meetings with Orlando, including 10 of the last 12 at Amway Center. Their last game on November 20 was highlighted by Danny Green’s game-winning buzzer-beater. What gets forgotten is that Toronto blew an 18-point lead and Green (yes, the one from the previous sentence) played poor defense on the previous possession, allowing Evan Fournier to blow by him for a game-tying dunk. FVV (4 points on 1-of-5 shooting) and Delon (4 points on 2-of-5) were both coming back from injury, so the bench should perform much better this time around (JV was also held in check with 8 points and 6 boards). Coming off a disappointing loss to the Heat, the Raptors come out strong and make the Magic disappear, 115-105.

December 30 vs. Chicago Bulls

You know Lauri and Bobby and Kris Dunn and Carter,

Cameron and Denzel and Robin and Parker.

But do you recall,

The most famous Chicago Bull of all?

Boylen the red-faced head coach,

Had no control of his team.

And if you watch these Bulls play,

You would even want to scream.

All of the NBA teams,

Laugh and joke and mock their O.

They rarely hit triple digits,

And might as well call Carmelo.


Did you know the Raptors and Bulls have played 86 times and there have already been three double-digit win streaks between them? From January 1997 to December 2006, here’s what happened over the 39 matchups: Chicago wins eight straight; Toronto wins 16 in a row; Chicago wins 15 in a row! The Bulls would dominate again from February 2014 to February 2017, winning 11 straight. The Raptors have since followed that losing streak by reeling off 6 straight wins. See where I’m going with this? Bulls pull off the upset. Psych! Raptors tame the Bulls, 118-97.


Season Record for Predictions (Last Week): 24 - 11 (2 - 1)