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Listen to That’s A Rap #70: Toronto’s depth is starting to shine through

In Toronto’s latest victories, Marc Gasol, Norm Powell, and Fred VanVleet took turns carrying the team. The fact that the Raptors didn’t need to rely on their All-Stars speaks to the team’s amazing depth.

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Raptors defeat an Atlantic Division foe that visits Scotiabank Arena.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Remove the Christmas Day loss to the Celtics — you know, the one Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Norm Powell missed because of injuries — and the Raps haven’t lost at home to a division foe since November 2015.

With the Raptors at full health for the first time this decade (dramatic much?), they took down an injury-depleted Sixers squad. After 40-ish games of the exact opposite, it was quite pleasant to see the Raptors as the healthier team in a marquee matchup.

Listen as we recap the Sixers and Hawks games, before delving into an interesting Powell discussion.

On This Episode:

Philadelphia entered Wednesday’s nationally televised game with Toronto short-handed. “Handed” being the operative word as Joel Embiid was still sidelined with a fractured finger. The loss of Josh Richardson to injury just four minutes into the game only compounded the Sixers’ issues. With added pressure on Ben Simmons to produce, Philly’s depth — or lack thereof — played a large part in their loss.

Whether it was Gasol in the first half, keeping the team afloat while working through some shooting struggles, or Fred VanVleet, and his scorching hot shooting, in the second half, Toronto’s depth carried them to victory.

That depth was also needed when the Raps visited the Hawks. For the second time this season, Atlanta kept things interesting when the defending, reigning world champions came to town. The Hawks almost pulled out a miraculous comeback, turning a 16-point deficit into a one-possession game, within a span of 75 seconds. Trae Young showed why he’s an All-Star. He almost made a meme out of FVV, almost carried his team to an improbable victory, and almost had a 40-point triple-double. Ultimately, he and his Hawks couldn’t overcome Norm!

Powell’s hot shooting has not subsided, even after returning from his shoulder injury. He’s having a career year and showing why he deserves some Sixth Man of the Year consideration.

We finished the episode with a small warning. Sunday’s game in San Antonio promises to be very interesting. Here are Toronto’s games on Sunday, in order:

November 10: Statement victory in Los Angeles without Lowry/Ibaka

December 1: Blowout victory over Utah

December 8: The full-court-press-almost-miracle-comeback in Philadelphia

December 22: The full-court-press-definitely-miracle-comeback vs. Dallas

December 29: Nail-biting loss at home to OKC

January 12: Nail-biting loss at home to San Antonio

2:15 - Playoff atmosphere

18:50 - Trae-mendous Point God

29:10 - Norm of the North

34:50 - Sunday is always Fun Day