ESPN Insider: Raptors, one of the playoff dark horses
Old 03-18-2014, 02:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dark horse to make the NBA Finals: Toronto Raptors


I get it: How can a No. 3 seed qualify as a dark horse? But even with the East's third-best record (38-27), the Raptors have been flying a bit under the radar. When sizing up the biggest threats in the East to take down the Heat or Pacers, history is on the side of the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. We have seen Joakim Noah, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Tom Thibodeau make title runs. These Raptors, though, have never been down this road before, so our brains don't have anything from which to draw.

But we need to take the Raptors very seriously. And here's why: Since trading Rudy Gay, they've played as well as Miami and Indiana. Believe it. The Raptors have gone 31-16 (.660) since Gay left the team on Dec. 8 and have outscored opponents by 5.7 points per 100 possessions over that time. That's right in between the Heat and the Pacers in terms of point differential.



Yes, they were a ghastly 6-12 before the trade, but they're clearly a different team now. And the next best East team since the Gay trade? Brooklyn, at plus-2.8. Not in the same stratosphere.
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We tend to think of the East as a two-team race, but this Raptors squad has hung with the big boys for the majority of the season now. So why don't we consider them an elite East team? Again, it may be because the Raptors haven't been battle-tested in the playoffs. Tyler Hansbrough and John Salmons are the only players in Toronto's rotation that have started a playoff game. The next playoff minute for DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross will be their first.

And that skepticism about the Raptors is understandable. After all, their 2-6 post-trade record against Miami, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Clippers certainly doesn't breed optimism. But this is a two-way team, unlike the Bulls and Pacers, who pair a nasty defense with merely good offense. The Raptors rank fourth league-wide in defensive rating since the Gay trade, and, thanks to a stud backcourt featuring Kyle Lowry and DeRozan, they also boast the 10th-ranked offense over that time.

No, the Raptors shouldn't be considered favorites to come out of the East. But over the past month or so, the Heat and Pacers have shown that they're vulnerable. And while most folks consider the Bulls and Nets as prime candidates to give them a scare, it's the Raptors who should have your attention.


NBA - Which teams could be Cinderella stories in the Eastern Conference? - ESPN
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The glass slipper would be amazing. In any case, i think they won't need glass slippers in the future. And it's not the way things tend to go in the nba. Rising to a certain level requires some learning while failing to quite get there.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It would be quite a Cinderella story if they were to say make it to the EC finals or even the Finals!
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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getting to the second round and winning a game against the heat or pavers would make this an successful season. Raptors would get media exposure and free agents might want to join raps young core.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The Heat and Pacers are looking very beatable, but their is a lot of time for them to get their acts together.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bjjs View Post
The Heat and Pacers are looking very beatable, but their is a lot of time for them to get their acts together.
They will be fine come playoff time. The only team that may give one of them an issue is Chicago.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice to hear they aren't casting raps away like a treadmill team
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by omar36 View Post
getting to the second round and winning a game against the heat or pacers would make this an successful season.
This pretty much. Although 50 wins would be nice too.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Article points it right out. We dont have playoff experience nor a proven coach nor a veteran leader
Thats a bad combination to have in playoffs
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty.py View Post
Article points it right out. We dont have playoff experience nor a proven coach nor a veteran leader
Thats a bad combination to have in playoffs
Casey was with the Mavs when they won the title. That experience isn'y chopped liver.
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Old 03-19-2014, 12:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Lebron vs Raptors.....unfortunately the raps lose 9 of 10 times.....I don't know why, but there are so many teams/players out there that treat us like were the most hated thing since fried spam, and they always rise to extreme highs just to shut Toronto down and shit all over us.....its it because were a Canadian team, and for some reason Americans just hate us good old Canadians.....or maybe their just haters and hate the fact that we live in some of the best cities in the world and have free health care.....
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:28 PM   #12 (permalink)
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If we make it to the 2nd round I'll be happy. ECF? Ill be ecstatic.
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