Are the Toronto Raptors Serious NBA Championship Contenders?

Elena Summers
November 8, 2018

It didn't matter. The Raptors (9-1) came out hot and led the Lakers by 31 at one point in the first quarter. They are in first place in the east.

Toronto, who now boast a 10-1 record, were untroubled despite star Kawhi Leonard missing a second consecutive game with a foot injury. Are they serious championship contenders?

Raptors coach Nick Nurse and Leonard have both previously said they do not consider the injury serious, according to TSN. Willie Cauley-Stein, the sixth pick in 2015, is proving to be a late-bloomer and continued his strong season with 24 points, while Buddy Hield, acquired from New Orleans in the DeMarcus Cousins trade, scored 24 of his own and is in the middle of a massive breakout campaign. Raptors are superior to the Kings and Vegas odds give the ma -8 spread and expect them to beat the odds for an easy road win.

Even though Toronto was the number one seed in the east last season, they decided to make some moves in the offseason. DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl was shipped in that deal from Toronto. Green is averaging 10.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.6 APG and 1 SPG so far this season.

He played 18 minutes and finished with seven points, two rebounds and an assist. The Raptors shot just 30 per cent from deep on Wednesday, and rank 20th in the National Basketball Association at 34.7 per cent on the season.

Toronto has won five straight since its lone loss this season at Milwaukee on October 29.

With Lowry on the court, the Raptors have an offensive rating of 122.9 and a defensive rating of 105.5, giving him the exact same net rating as Stephen Curry on the season. But they have been scoring at a much higher clip this year, running up at least 107 points in nine of their 10 outings.

Sure, it's convenient to point out various explanations/excuses depending on your perspective after the 121-107 loss. That is what elite teams do. "It's true I played great, but we got a W. To me, that's most important".

This was set to be Leonard's only visit to Staples Center to play the Lakers this season - the lone time the fans here would've had a chance to serenade the league's best two-way wing player with cheers ahead of him being an unrestricted free agent next summer.

As of right now, Toronto is a lot better than Boston and the Raptors have been very impressive.

Toronto ended the first quarter on a 15-4 run, then took control once Leonard got going in the second after Sacramento got in foul trouble.

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