Every ten games or so, we’ll be checking in with Raptors fan, and noted Twitter celebrity, Gourmet Spud to gauge how he’s feeling about his Toronto bet. The line: Spud took the over on the Raptors at 62 wins. As of this writing, the Raptors are 44-16.
Not to use this as an excuse, but my — and the Raptors’ — vacation pushed the latest Gambling with Gourmet Spud column off until 13 games after the previous iteration. Since then a lot has happened to say the least. Back on January 19th, Spud was lamenting Jonas Valanciunas’ suits, and the weird play of Kyle Lowry, C.J. Miles, and Greg Monroe. As of last night, only one of those guys is still even on the Raptors, and damn if he isn’t playing his ass off right now.
So then, the natural question: what does Spud think of his 62-win Raptors bet now? After the past 13 games during which the team went 10-3 — and is currently riding a 7-game win streak — Toronto now sits in second place in the East with a 44-16 record. They remain one game back of the Bucks for the top spot, and, as has been acknowledged elsewhere, have one of the easier schedules down the stretch (e.g. no games west of OKC, a lot of trips through Chicago and New York, etc.).
And leave it to Spud to weigh in on all of the Raptors’ moves over the past month — in both positive...
I'm told the Raptors traded Monroe because Kawhi made clear he "couldn't stand his face, couldn't stand his laugh", that he "hated every little thing about him and his presence made him sick". I'm fine with it.— Gourmet Spud (@gourmetspud) February 7, 2019
And, uh, negative fashion:
The Hawks are purposely dragging their heels on the Lin buyout because they know I have a bet that the Raptors will win 62 games and they are down a point guard tonight.— Gourmet Spud (@gourmetspud) February 11, 2019
What else does Spud have to say about the recent run of the Raptors? Let’s find out.
Spud’s Highlight from the Past 13 Games:
The DeMar return, clearly. I got to be at the game, and was genuinely stressed about whether the fans would be able to hit the right level. I kept thinking that we had personalized chants for Jose and even friggin’ Bosh, but never one for DeRozan, which is a shame. In any event, it was needless worry. The ovation after the tribute video gave me chills. That guy rehabbed this formally shitty franchise and gave the fanbase back some collective self-esteem. Even though he isn’t a Hall of Famer, he’s the most important Raptor ever in my book. I’m glad he felt the love.
Also I’m glad we traded him for Kawhi (see: game winning play).
Spud’s Lowlight from the Past 13 Games:
I’m sick and scared of the Bucks. I think our only hope against them is that they respond like the Raptors of old and fold in the bright light of the playoffs. But they are the better team, no question. If Giannis is going to either dunk or hit guys for wide open threes, how can you stop that even in the playoffs? I’m glad for Milwaukee fans though. Those sweaty, curdled beasts deserve it. Also Steve Avery and Brandon Dassey were both guilty.
Spud, How’s Your Mood?
Overall, the Raps need to close 18-4 to win my bet. Portland, Houston, two Thunder games, those goddamn Nets again, the hateful Celtics and then a possibly nuclear LeBron. I don’t like my chances. But on the other hand... I really do?
There we are once again: the Raptors made whole sale changes to their identity, but the core of Toronto sports fandom remains, as always, the same. And to be honest folks, you’ve gotta love it. See you (and Spud) in another ten or so games.