Are the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors Good?

Dwane Casey couldn’t win for trying last year. Curing his case of Scott/Hollins Syndrome (well, except for DeMar DeRozan, but you can’t make chicken salad out of chicken…something else…beyond the arc), leading the Toronto Raptors to a 59-23 record, the best regular season in franchise history… …and getting his butt kicked by LeBron James, meekly surrendering in four games in the second round… Anyway, longtime assistant Nick Nurse is now the head coach, a man whose coaching experience includes 11 years in Britain, seven in the G-League, and six as Casey’s errand boy. On the bright side, Nurse is said …

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Breakfast Special: DeMar DeRozan Is Not A Star

Can we officially put to bed the idea that DeMar DeRozan is a genuine All-Star caliber shooting guard? Like, once and for all, please? If the disgrace that was the Raptors getting clobbered by LeBron James and friends on the Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t make it abundantly clear, DeRozan is not a player for the modern league. He shoots midrange jumpers, can’t guard elite players, and disappears when it matters most. Which, come to think of it, the same could be said for Kyle Lowry, minus the midrange jumpers part. He’s perfectly content to miss threes like a proper 2018 overrated …

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Breakfast Special: The Celtics Play Smart Basketball

It’s a brave new NBA world we live in, where no 20-point lead is safe. You think your team is on its way to a blowout, the kind of game where the starters sit the fourth quarter, and then next thing you know, it’s halftime, you’re up by five, and you might as well not have played the first 24 minutes at all. And then there’s “you lost sight of Marcus Smart and he buried you beneath a barrage of three-pointers.” Such was the fate of the Philadelphia 76ers in Boston, as they fell down two games to nil against …

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Breakfast Special: Victor Oladipo’s Excellent Triple-Double Adventure

What on earth happened in Indianapolis? I mean, I’ve been over Game 6. The video footage. The play-by-play. The game flow. Everything. And the Pacers just flat-out destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-87, shredding them like sensitive documents in a politician’s office in the second half, including a 35-20 third quarter that effectively iced the game. Victor Oladipo had a triple-double, scoring 28 points, pulling 13 rebounds, and dishing 10 assists. The Pacers overall put up a Total Team Effort—in the playoffs!—in which all five starters plus Domantas Sabonis and Lance Stephenson got into double figures. And the Cavaliers…well, LeBron James …

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Breakfast Special: LeBron James, the One True GOAT

How do you even stop LeBron James when he’s determined to win a game and indeed a series by himself? LeBron had 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, hit 14-of-24 from the field and 15-of-15 from the line, plus the shot that for all intents and purposes ended this first-round series with the Pacers as the Cavaliers won Game 5 98-95: .@KingJames WINS IT AT THE BUZZER! 🚨👌🚨@cavs win 98-95 and take a 3-2 series lead!#NBAPlayoffs | #AllForOne pic.twitter.com/MhBB5YeoQA — NBA TV (@NBATV) April 26, 2018 Cleveland hit 26-of-27 from the free throw line as a team. There’s your analysis. …

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Breakfast Specials: Two Truths and a Portland Lie

Consider the Western Conference. Below the Rockets and Warriors, who were beyond shadow of doubt the best two teams in the group, and above the Clippers, who were clearly tenth-best and had five wretched teams below them in the tankosphere, there were seven teams who were separated by three games in the standings, including five teams that had just a single game between them; fourth went 48-34, eighth went 47-35. Now consider that one of those teams, the Pelicans, had a major change of identity midway through the season when DeMarcus Cousins went down, took time to adjust, and emerged …

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Breakfast Special: The Raptors Put the East On Notice

The Toronto Raptors marched into Air Canada Centre with a two-game lead on the Boston Celtics and with pole position in the Eastern Conference potentially hanging in the balance; the winner would almost certainly get the tiebreaker in the Atlantic Division and therefore in the race for the top seed. The Raptors left Air Canada Centre celebrating a 96-78 complete beatdown of the Celtics, a 3-1 season series victory assured, the magic number for clinching the No. 1 seed cut to one (and with an exhausted Indiana team coming to town on a SEGABABA Friday night and with Orlando, Detroit, …

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Breakfast Special: O Dub Nation, Where Art Thou?

Consider the following… Sometimes you just have to find a way to win. #Pacers comeback win at Golden State their 7th when trailing by 15+ points. And that doesn’t include Sunday win vs. Heat when @Pacers trailed by 14 in 1H. — Chris Denari (@ChrisDenari) March 28, 2018 Seven 15-point comebacks. For a team that played like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz last year. Indiana beat the Santa Cruz Warriors 92-81 in a game where Quinn Cook‘s midrange jumper with 5:01 left in the second quarter made the score 44-29. It was an ugly game; the Pacers shot …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Ace Sixth Man

Ladies and gentlemen, Lonzo Ball—yes, THAT Lonzo Ball—had a perfect shooting night. OK, so he did it off the bench and only attempted four shots and two free throws, but 4-4 FG/3-3 3PT/2-2 FT is still 13 points. Plus, the Lakers beat the tanking Hawks 123-104 in Atlanta, sending Hawks fans into paroxysms of joy as they entrench their position at “We’re Number 30! We’re Number 30!” Since Dallas beat the Pacers (we’ll get to that in the Lightning Round, as it is unworthy of feature consideration), today was a good day for #TrueToAtlanta. The Lakers ran ten guys out …

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Breakfast Special: Toronto’s Backcourt Monster Show

DeMar DeRozan scored 52 points, setting a career and franchise high and lighting up the night in Toronto on New Year’s Day, powering the Raptors to a 131-127 overtime win over the Milwaukee Bucks. And as if that weren’t enough, Kyle Lowry had 26 points of his own, giving the starting backcourt 78 points between them. And the cherry on the sundae? The Raptors got more points from the starting shooting guard position than their opponent…as in 50 more points; Tony Snell started at the 2 for Milwaukee and scored two points. But wait, there’s more! DeRozan and Lowry shot …

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