This was supposed to be the year of the Celtics. With Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving returning from injuries and Danny Ainge’s roster stockpiled with draft assets to add another star, Boston was supposed to be 60-plus win team. This was also supposed to be the year of the Sixers. GM Elton Brand effectively ended ‘The Process’ in acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris.
Ho-hum, another Atlantic Division title locked up for the Raptors.
On This Week’s Episode:
The last couple weeks have felt like deja vu with Toronto essentially locked into the two-seed and using games to fine-tune rotations, so we felt it was fitting to invite Peter Kaye of Life in Repeat to the pod.
Toronto has managed to navigate the fine line between getting playoff-ready while, according to Nick Nurse, saving some plays/lineups for the postseason.
Some lineup questions are being answered, though. Marc Gasol is now entrenched in the starting lineup and thriving. Since joining the team on February 8th, the Raptors have a +16 point differential in Gasol’s 500-ish minutes. Passing, assists, and 3-point % have all skyrocketed since the All-Star break.
The Gasol Effect has also positively impacted Serge Ibaka. He has built chemistry with Fred VanVleet and has strung together some JV-esque double-doubles off the bench.
With so much going right on both ends of the floor, there really isn’t any one team or player the Raptors should fear. We mentioned Blake Griffin and briefly touched on D’Angelo Russell and Nikola Vucevic, but are you concerned about any specific player in Round One?
At the 33:00 mark, I selfishly took over the episode to boast about the Kawhi-is-Staying bracket. It’s been an amazing project to write about, alongside Sean Woodley, and one that should give hope to all Raptor fans. Whether or not Kawhi re-signs, Toronto should feel confident that the entire team will do what it can to keep its players happy and competitive.
There’s so much hype going into this playoff run, wouldn’t it be great to see Jurassic Park become Jurassic World at the Rogers Centre?
Three games remain. Please. Bubble. Wrap. Our. Stars.
2:25 - Life in Repeat
7:33 - Raptors in Cruise Control
10:30 - Playoff-Ready
18:03 - The Gasol Effect
23:20 - Nothing to Fear in Round One
25:45 - Matchups
33:00 - KaWhy He’s Staying Bracket
51:48 - From Jurassic Park to Jurassic World?
55:37 - Final Three Games