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That’s A Rap #125: Raptors benefit from home cooking

The Raptors stop allowing fans at Amalie Arena and subsequently win 80% of their home games. Coincidence? The boys of That’s A Rap think not!

Miami Heat v Toronto Raptors Photo by Scott Audette/NBAE via Getty Images

Less is more.

This famous quote from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was referencing minimalist architecture. It’s quite fitting for the Toronto Raptors who, after “minimizing” within their architecture (permitting fans at home games), have won four of their last five at Amalie Arena. The latest victory, a 101-81 beatdown on the short-handed Miami Heat, featured all the hallmarks of the Raptors season so far: build early lead, offense stalls, lose big lead, step up defensively, lather, rinse, repeat.

In the latest episode of That’s A Rap, we highlight the role players that are stepping up, from Stanley Johnson to, yes, Aron Baynes, before discussing all things Cleveland. Enjoy!

In This Episode:

4:07 — Home cooking

Maybe it was the fairweather fans. Maybe the team needed some time to gel. Maybe the injury bug that plagued Toronto last season will karmically work in their favour this season (* knocks on wood *). Whatever the reason for the Raptors’ recent play, there have been enough positive signs that being the NBA’s 11th ranked team (by Net Rating) is a better indicator of the team’s performance than the sub-.500 record.

10:52 — Bjorkgren Bowl

After playing a Miami team without Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, Toronto travels to Indiana for two games against a Pacers squad without TJ Warren and Caris LeVert. Former Raptors Assistant Coach and current Indiana Pacers Head Coach Nate Bjorkgren knows this Toronto team better than any other; The chess match between former foes-turned-allies-turned-foes-again, Nick Nurse and his former lead man, should make for a scintillating double-header.

18:45 — A Tale of Two Centres (part 1): Baynes

It’s quite amazing that it took until game #15 for Baynes to register his first blocks as a Raptor. The stat sheet didn’t show how solid he was guarding Bam Adebayo in the first meeting, so he made sure to correct that in the rematch. As long as Aron plays solid defense and sets bone-crushing screens, he’ll carve out a very valuable role on a squad that desperately needs production from their bigs.

27:06 — A Tale of Two Centres (part 2): Len

Unfortunately for Alex Len, he was not able to carve out that role, even as the third centre in the rotation. By waiving Len, the Raptors open up several doors. They could convert Yuta Watanabe (probably not yet), sign a free agent big (who’s left?), or take on an extra player in a trade (more fun with the Trade Machine!).

44:15 — Redacted

The Browns just missed out on a berth in the AFC Championship Game, but Cleveland is still the talk of the sporting world. Kevin Porter Jr. was traded to Houston after a tumultuous week with the Cleveland Cavaliers that included getting kicked out of his locker and another food-throwing incident. Does Cleveland’s handling of Porter have any implications in how the Raptors should treat the affairs of *redacted*?