This week, we’re ignoring 29 teams in this space to focus on a particularly unexpected excellence. The Raptors have been on an incredible tear since mid-December, putting up some statistical marks well worth mentioning.
• Over the last 20 games, no offense in the league has been more efficient than that of the Raptors, who have scored at an absurd rate of 109.4 points per 100 possessions. Of course, it makes complete sense that Toronto has been able to produce that onslaught with a roster only marginally upgraded from the one that ranked 29th in offensive efficiency a season ago.
• Also worth noting: Toronto has posted the seventh best net rating (pace-adjusted point differential) over that same span, smack dab between the beloved Warriors and the resurgent Pacers. That’s almost solely because of their offense, but that the Raptors had been prolific enough on either side of the floor to rank as one of the best teams in the league for so lengthy a stretch is in itself incredible.
• For those keeping track at home, the Raptors’ recent play makes them a solid 4.3 points better on offense per 100 possessions when Andrea Bargnani is off the court. Bargnani’s absence has played a big role in Toronto’s surge, though not entirely due to his ball-stopping style; it’s only because of injuries to Bargnani and rookie big man Jonas Valanciunas that Ed Davis was able to become a relevant part of the Raptors’ rotation, and he’s had a terrific run of 14.7 points and 8.5 rebounds per 36 minutes over Toronto’s last 20 games.
• Part of the reason why Raptors fans have rekindled their love for Jose Calderon: Toronto has managed this deluge of scoring without sacrificing their ball control. The Raps rank third in the entire league in turnover percentage over the last 20 games, and regardless of how you view Calderon’s game in relation to that of starter-turned-sub Kyle Lowry, the Spaniard’s heady playmaking style centers a team without top-tier shot creators from devolving into chaos
Found after a piece about the Celtics