Toronto Raptors Off To A Good Start For The 2018-2019 Season

Toronto Raptors Off To A Good Start For The 2018-2019 Season

With just over a week into the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Toronto Raptors stand second in the Eastern Conference with a 6-1 record with their only loss coming last night from the Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks, losing 109-124. Though it is extremely early to start planning the parade route in Toronto, it’s evident to see that this team is different. Given the monstrous off-season, things were expected to change so let’s quickly run through what’s different.

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Raptors Young Core is Already One of the NBA's Best

The conversation usually starts with the Celtics, or Sixers or sometimes the Lakers. Each of which have promising young players that were drafted in the lottery. However, lost in the shuffle of the best young cores in the NBA are the Toronto Raptors. Together, they form one of the most fearsome bench line-ups in the league as the Raptors rank first in net rating amongst all bench units. They developed chemistry together playing in the Las Vegas Summer League and won a G-League championship with the Raptors 905. That continuity has been a recipe for success at each level, and now the Raptors rely heavily on their youth to win ball games.

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The Toronto Raptors Become First Team in League to Clinch Play-Off Berth with their 121-119 Win Over The Detroit Pistons

The Toronto Raptors Become First Team in League to Clinch Play-Off Berth with their 121-119 Win Over The Detroit Pistons

Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that the Toronto Raptors would be the first team in the league to clinch a play-off spot and earn that coveted “x” beside their team in the standings? With the nail-biting 121-119 OT win over the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night, the Raptors were able to secure a post-season berth just 64 games into the season.  

Despite coming off a back-to-back and the slow start (being outscored in the first half 59-45), the Raptors were able to muscle through the gritty Pistons squad in the second half to force OT. There were so many moments in the game that made the victory that much better so how about we live through that glorious win once again, shall we?

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Raptors Report Card: February

Raptors Report Card: February

January was a good start to 2018 for the Toronto Raptors as they went 9-5 for the month with some key games making up those 9 wins. For example, demolishing the Cleveland Cavaliers 133-99 and walking away with their first win in the United Centre since December 2013 with the victory over the Chicago Bulls, 124-115. And yes, we know that there are no such thing as moral victories in the NBA but some of the losses in January were respectable like 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors. This was a game where the Raptors were able to come out of an 81-54 deficit going into the second half. January was also the month in which DeMar DeRozan was able to set a new franchise record for most points scored in a game with 52 points in their New Year’s Day victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

So going into February on such a high, how did the Toronto Raptors fair against their January performance?

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Raptors Rendezvous: The Pistons

Raptors Rendezvous: The Pistons

On Monday night, the Toronto Raptors took on the 9th seed Detroit Pistons. The Raptors were coming off an OT loss on Friday night, when they fell short to the Milwaukee Bucks, 119-122. Despite the exciting finish of a Jonas Valanciuanis dunk at the end of regulation, the Raptors were not playing like themselves. They shot a poor 26% from the three and  were out-rebounded by the Bucks 51 total rebounds to 37. As the season starts to dwindle down and focus starts shifting to the playoffs, the Raptors needed to buckle down going into Monday’s game in order to keep their momentum going in the right direction.

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Number 1

Number 1

The Raptors are in first! The Raptors are in first! That's right Lucas! With the season past the half way point, Toronto fans everywhere are crossing their fingers, throwing salt over their shoulders, and praying to the basketball Gods that for once, we can hold on to such an amazing feat and go into the playoffs stronger than ever before. However, faith is nothing without works, and these following points are vital to maintain the success of the Raps this season.

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Raptors Rendezvous: The Lakers

Raptors Rendezvous: The Lakers

On Sunday evening, the Toronto Raptors took on the Los Angeles Lakers at the ACC in front of 19,800 fans who were probably hoping to get a Drake sighting or to get their hands on those infamous mini OVO basketball (neither of which happened btw). The 11th seed Lakers came into this game hoping they would continue their 4-game winning streak but the 2nd seed Raptors reminded them of their place as the Raptors won 123-111.

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Culture Reset is Real.

Culture Reset is Real.

We’re roughly ¼ into the 2017-2018 season and one thing is certain – the culture reset that Masai and Coach Casey alluded to at the end of the horrible sweep by the Cleveland Cavaliers is indeed real. This new style of basketball was evident during the pre-season when the ball was being passed around like a hot potato and the team was making it rain 3’s like they were playing for Mike D’Antoni. But despite what everyone saw during pre-season, many were still doubting how just how much this team can change. Considering the long-standing history of Raptors being defense-minded team, many questioned if this change in style was even possible. Well, haters we got some news for you - not only have we seen a change in style but it looks like it’s here to stay.

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It’s All a Big N.P, no problem to the Raptors…or is it?

It’s All a Big N.P, no problem to the Raptors…or is it?

If you haven’t listened to Powell on the Piano then you’re definitely missing out. It’s a catchy, corny song that has the lyrics of “it’s all a big N.P., no problem to me…”But we’re 12 games into the season and it has some fans saying “ummm, I think this big N.P. is kind of becoming a problem.” Where has pre-contract Norman Powell gone?

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Raptors Come Through in Their Final Home Game With a 96-94 Win Against the Heat

Raptors Come Through in Their Final Home Game With a 96-94 Win Against the Heat

On Friday night, the Raptors took on former teammate James Johnson and the Miami Heat, where they were able to pull off a 96-94 win for their final home game of the season. DeMar DeRozan had another All-Star worthy performance with 38 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal. In his second game back from his injury, Kyle Lowry facilitated his team as he dropped 6 dimes and managed 2 steals. But during the game, and in fact all Heat games throughout this season, fans can’t help but be enamoured with ex-Raptor James Johnson and the numbers he’s been putting up lately. This has some fans asking, was James Johnson the one that got away?

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Raptors Crash Ross’ Homecoming Parade With a 131-112 Win Over The Magic

On Monday night, Terrence Ross made his first debut appearance in an Orlando Magic jersey at the Air Canada Center, where he played in front of a crowd that he called home for the past 5 years. Although Ross started off hot, torching DeMar DeRozan with 7 easy points to start off the game, there was not much Magic in the building as they fell 131-112. Ross played 29 minutes finishing with 17 points, 2 rebounds and went 0/2 in three-pointers. Despite the win, the Raptors were not the star of last night’s game but rather all eyes were on Terrence Ross. A tribute video was played for Ross early on in the game and fans couldn’t help but reflect on what the past 5 seasons were like with Ross on our side.   

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Raptors' Defense Does the Talking in Back-to-Back Wins

Thursday night’s 123-102 loss against the OKC Thunder is one that a lot of fans want to forget but despite such, it was a good wake-up call for the Raptors. We will never know what was said during the player’s only meeting but whatever it was, it worked. The Raptors were able to string back-to-back wins this past weekend against the Detroit Pistons (87-75) and Indiana Pacers (116-91).

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