Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Morning Coffee – Mon, Dec 12

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Sunday Shootaround: The Raptors have never been better –

They also have one of the game’s great point guards in Lowry, who continues to get better even as his age suggests he should be starting to decline. In DeRozan and Lowry, they have two legit All-Stars performers and Olympians. Only a handful of teams can say the same. To complement them, the Raptors have loads of shooting scattered around the perimeter and an effective big man to clean things up in Jonas Valanciunas.

Their bench is also one of the best in the league. Per our Raptors HQ, the Raptors’ subs out-perform every other reserve group in the league by a substantial margin. The Lowry + Four Reserves alignment has been particularly stellar. That was true last season, as well, but those awesome backup lineups were often forced to compensate for a starting five that was a net negative. This season, the combination of a healthier DeMarre Carroll and the addition of Siakam has shaved almost four points off their margin.

“They can play big at the start of the game and then they transition into a real skilled, athletic smaller team,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “They’re scoring at an incredible rate.”

By general consensus and backed with empirical data, the Raptors are one of the best teams in the league. They are a handful to defend and just as good on the road as they are at home. They have experience, continuity, and a taste for the big time action in the postseason. Were it anyone else, we’d call the Raptors a contender and see how things play out before passing judgment.

There are, however, two main concerns and they are big ones. First, the Raps are mediocre defensively. Second, the Cleveland Cavaliers exist.

On the first, Toronto’s defensive issues are the bane of Casey’s existence. He arrived in town with a mandate to fix the D and the team has ranged from solid to meh during his tenure. Currently, they are meh.

On the second, a little context is necessary. It’s simply not true that the Raps can’t beat the Cavs. They took two out of three during the regular season last year and two more in the conference finals. It’s just that their margin for error is incredibly small. Casey even acknowledged after their latest setback on Monday (a 116-112 Cavs win in Toronto) that this team needs to “play a perfect game against a team like that.” They didn’t.



Norman Powell thriving as Raptors’ super-utility guy | Toronto Sun

Look strictly at the numbers and Powell deserves to be playing a more consistent role. But through those ahead of him on the depth chart and the level of experience of those players, not to mention Powell’s second-round status, the opportunities just aren’t there.

It’s only his second year but already it feels at times like Powell is getting the short end of the stick.

On Friday night in Boston, with DeMarre Carroll once again sitting out to avoid the stress back-to-back games can put on a guy coming back from injury, Powell was once again called on.

All he did, and really all he has done every time he gets the chance, is deliver.

He had 20 points on a super-effcient 10 shots, seven of which he made, three of which came from behind the arc. He also had three rebounds, two assists, five steals and did not turn the ball over.

That all happened in 35 minutes. In the previous three games, he had just 19 minutes combined, almost all of them in garbage time.

A week ago, he played 32 minutes in a win over the Lakers, again with Carroll sitting out. In that game, he had 16 points in another efficient 7-for-14 shooting night while chipping in with seven rebounds, two assists and again not a single turnover.

Powell has started five games this year and in those games is 26-for-50 from the field, a cumulative plus-27 individually and has committed a total of four turnovers.

Bucks vs. Raptors Preview: Rolling Raptors loom for struggling Milwaukee – Brew Hoop

The lingering takeaway from these games will be Milwaukee’s inability to score down the stretch. Giannis’ foul trouble was an easy scapegoat in Friday’s game, but Saturday’s game saw Tony Snell miss two threes down the stretch that served as death knells for the Bucks chance of winning. Middleton’s absence looms large in these instances, and even if he wasn’t always the most efficient clutch-time scorer, his willingness to take that shot meant something and alleviated pressure from the team’s young stars. Still, seeing shots go away from Giannis and Jabari down the stretch always feels a bit like a wasted opportunity for a season that will be defined exhaustively by their development.

Losing to Washington also further cemented the Bucks road woes, as they went to 3-5 away from the BMO. With their oft-discussed home heavy start finally out of the way, Milwaukee will have to start figuring out how to win more consistently on the road. The trudge forward will be a steady incline of difficulty.

Game day: Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors | Toronto Star


Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, vs. DeMarre Carroll, Raptors. The six-foot-11 Bucks forward/guard presents a unique matchup problem with his ability to get to the rim and also facilitate the offence. He had 29 points and 11 assists earlier this season against Toronto and Carroll will be hard-pressed to slow him.

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