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That’s A Rap #138: Toronto diffuses the tank talk

The Raptors are healthy and have a lineup with less holes than it’s had all season. Can they make a run for the play-in tournament? Let’s discuss on the latest episode!

San Antonio Spurs v Toronto Raptors Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Raptors Twitter: “Fade for Cade”

Raptors: “No Tank You”

Our beloved Raptors are not wired to lose games. The championship DNA that resides in the core players will always fight to the end — both in-game (hello fake comebacks!) and as the regular season wraps up. The injury bug that befell the core has inadvertently worked in Toronto’s favour. The extra playing time for Malachi Flynn, Freddie Gillespie, and Yuta Watanabe has helped fortify a bench that was non-existent for most of the season.

In the latest episode of That’s A Rap, we dove into why the Raptors refuse to drop into the lottery and why, no matter the outcome, the team is setting itself up for success in the future. Enjoy!

In This Episode:

4:45 — WWWW

The Raptors have tied a season-high win streak of [gulp] four games as they head to New York for another pivotal matchup. Actually, “pivotal matchup” should just be plastered on all remaining games for Toronto. With 12 of the remaining 13 opponents with better records than the Raptors, Nick Nurse’s (finally) healthy squad will have an uphill battle to finish the season.

14:47 — “It’s nice to have bigs”

Correction: the only area that’s always been healthy has been the centre position. That hasn’t necessarily been a positive for most of the season and a large reason why the Raptors are currently out of the playoff picture. With Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie in the mix, the rest of Toronto’s roster is falling into place and playing inspired basketball.

21:10 — FFA (Forgettable Free Agents)

Talking about the centre position for Toronto this season almost always has to include a discussion about Aron Baynes. He’s been stapled to the bench with nothing to show but DNP-CDs for six games (and counting). Where does he rank in your FFA list? Was his signing the biggest blemish on Masai Ujiri’s Raptors resume?

30:51 — Injury Bug

Toronto’s been hit hard this season by the injury bug. On second thought, the entire NBA has been hit by the injury bug. LeBron James, Joel Embiid, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, and Ben Simmons are All-NBA candidates that have each missed double-digit games due to injury this season. Is that a coincidence or has the compressed NBA schedule impacted the players more than in the past?

39:00 — Play-in Matchups

The race for a play-in spot has been a sight for sore eyes in the West... and a sore sight in the East. Indiana is missing key players for their stretch run. Washington, who was 15(!) games under .500 just three weeks ago, is somehow in the driver’s seat for a play-in spot. Chicago has gone in the opposite direction since the trade deadline while also waiting for Zach Lavine to return from health & safety protocols. Toronto’s lost season may still end with some high-intensity play-in games.