The Raptors continue defying expectations.
Lose Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green? Insert Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby without missing a beat.
Lose Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka? Resurrect Bench Mob 2.0 with Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, and Chris Boucher.
Face a revenge-seeking Philly squad while missing six of 15 rotation players? Awaken Marc Gasol from his early season hibernation.
The next challenge — albeit one that any team/coach would dream of — is re-integrating Lowry and Ibaka into the lineup while starting an important stretch of tough games vs. playoff-caliber teams. If we’ve learned anything from Nick Nurse and his expectations-defying ways, it’s to keep the faith that all will be fine.
There’s a reason why these Raps are defending, reigning NBA champs! On that note, enjoy the latest, history-making edition of That’s A Rap.
On This Week’s Episode:
RJ Barrett may not be defying expectations like his hometown NBA team, but he’s at least meeting them. Whether or not he can become the first Canadian to win Rookie of the Year is a discussion for April. For now, he’s playing on a mediocre Knicks squad that just allowed the Raptors to hit a franchise-record 21 triples.
Somebody must have cut the cable in Bristol, Connecticut, because ESPN still somehow doesn’t believe in the Raptors. The underdog mentality is simply a part of the DNA for all Raptors fans. Apparently, winning a championship wasn’t enough to garner respect. Defeating a couple of top-tier teams, even short-handed, wasn’t enough either. I guess Toronto is just going to have to repeat as champions!
Is it me or is this squad more exciting than any in franchise history? Last season’s will never be topped (but hopefully equaled... like soon) in terms of success. However, Kawhi’s brand of iso-heavy basketball made watching this team a little bland. Obviously, you’ll take that style any time you have a player of his caliber. This year’s team — with all the passing and cutting on offense, and switching and hounding on defence — has been a thrill ride from the jump.
That aggressive defence reached its pinnacle (at least to this point) with Monday’s victory over Philadelphia. Gasol essentially turned Scotiabank Arena into a No Fly Zone for Joel Embiid and his Stretch Armstrong limbs. The rest of Toronto’s closing lineup exposed Philly’s lack of clutch scorers, shutting out the Sixers over the last four minutes!
As if getting by Philly wasn’t enough, the upcoming schedule for Toronto includes a much tougher defence with Utah. With games against Miami and Houston (and Philly again) also on the docket, the quarter-season mark should be a good gauge on how this squad really
2:00 - First Canadian ROY?
8:30 - Put some disrespect on our name
9:40 - Most exciting team in franchise history?
16:20 - Underdog mentality
22:30 - Philadelphia 76 misses
28:30 - Upcoming schedule