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Toronto Temperature: It’s playoff time and the winning is easy

The 2020 NBA playoffs are here and the Raptors have come to destroy. Let’s enjoy Kyle’s smile, Fred’s shooting, and Toronto’s all-around excellence — even in the face of lying cops.

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto Raptors - Game One
A big smile from a proud papa.
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

If you happen to think that all of the systemic racism and social justice issues in the U.S. right now are exclusive to that country, well, you’d be dead wrong! Canada is rife with deplorable actions towards Indigenous people and needs to be doing so much more to atone for it’s actions. Read up. Donate. Take action.

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Welcome back to NBA playoff basketball, baby!

The playoffs represent the culmination of a team’s hard work during the regular season and offseason as well as an introduction to hard-nosed, grind it out basketball. Or, if you’re the Toronto Raptors, an exercise in utter dominance that will surely be parlayed into a wealth of “learning experiences” for the young pup Brooklyn Nets who are definitely all going to be on the roster next year. Let’s take the temperature!

Who’s Hot

The Lowry Family, Royalty

With every passing day, it becomes more and more difficult for non-Toronto Raptors fans to hate Kyle Lowry.

Look at that smile. Look at that pride. Look at that 3-of-14 shooting night while finishing a team high +26! Take it away, Kyle’s mom.

Fred VanVleet, Steady As They Come

We all know that Steady Freddy is going to get very, very paid this offseason, but what else do you think he’s got coming his way? An All-Star nod? Three-point competition? All-Defense? All of the above?

One thing is for sure, Frederico is here to win every game for the Raptors and he’s going to do so by bombing threes in your eye with perfect form while breaking your life down to a waking nightmare anytime you try to dribble in front of him or shoot a three in his vicinity.

Raptors Free Throw Shooting, Solid

Free throw shooting has been a strength for the Raptors as they finished the season sixth overall at 79.6 percent. Against the Nets, the Raptors shot 32-of-33, good for 97 percent with their lone miss coming from noted dead-eye Fred VanVleet. The Raptors starting backcourt of Lowry and VanVleet are leading by example as they’ve shot 85 percent since the beginning of Bubble play.

It will be interesting to see, come the end of Bubble play, what kind of variance the NBA will see in free throw numbers without 20,000 people screaming in players’ ears. Something tells me the Raptors professional approach will carry them along just fine.

Who’s Not

Alan Strickland, ACAB

In a security footage reveal that shocked absolutely no one, Alameda County Sheriff Alan Strickland turns out to have been lying his rat-face off when he accused Masai Ujiri of assaulting and causing him long-term injury that would endanger his future wages.

This police officer felt so empowered by the systemic racism built-in to policing that he thought he could shove and verbally abuse a Black man in front of 20,000 people while knowingly having video footage of the incident attached to his body and still lie about it vehemently to the court system and any news outlet that would run his foul story. Also remember: his boss knew this footage existed and was fine with Strickland’s deranged fabrication anyway. The whole system is corrupt.

As if there was any more evidence necessary as to why the police need to be defunded, it’s worth noting: this jackass clocks $224,000 USD a year (and security at arenas often means extra money on top of salary) to do shit like this.

Brad Stevens, Not Who They Think He Is

Other than a sloppy third quarter, there is not a lot to pick at during the Raptors rout of the Nets in Game 1. With that said, why don’t we throw another highlight on the barbie!

Matt Devlin is so confident in the Toronto Raptors that during a Game 1 broadcast, he barbecued Brad Stevens on an open flame for the world to see. Oh, how I can’t wait for the Toronto-Boston series.