In this 442nd episode, Mike chats with Sportsnet's Michael Grange about his years writing for the Globe and Mail, his work at Sportsnet covering basketball, RJ Barrett, the Toronto Raptors and more. This episode is exactly 2:05:31.
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Last year, it felt like the Leafs season was 82 exhibition games until the real season began against Boston. It was a (mostly) entertaining 82 games, but it just didn't feel like it mattered. When the real season started, we bowed out in the first round to Boston.
This season feels awfully similar. Last night, I was picking up my kids at YYZ and by the time we got home the Leafs were down 5-0. That's no fun, but I sure didn't panic. We clicked over to the OKC / Brooklyn game and came back when it was 5-3. The finish was great fun, even though we lost, but again, it really didn't matter. The real season for this team starts in April.
I feel the exact same way about the Raptors. The Raps are essentially playing an 82 game exhibition season before the real season begins in a month. Nick Nurse is mixing the new in with the old and trying various combinations and strategies before things matter. More often than not, it's thoroughly entertaining, but when we lay an egg as we did against the Cavs, it doesn't faze me. This regular season simply doesn't matter. Like the Leafs, the Raptors will be wholly judged by what happens in the playoffs.
For what it's worth, I could see the Raps winning the Eastern Conference, but I'd be shocked if the Leafs escaped the second round. Still, I'd like to see what happens when the seasons start.
We're almost there...
The Toronto Raptors have acquired Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for Jonas Valančiūnas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a 2024 second-round pick.
The three-time All-Star is averaging 15.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists over 53 games this season in Memphis, his 11th in the NBA.
Fuck it... we've got Kawhi Leonard this season... let's go for it.
Discuss "Raptors Trade Jonas Valančiūnas, Delon Wright and CJ Miles to Grizzlies for Marc Gasol" (16 comments so far)
As of this exact moment in time, our Toronto Raptors lead the NBA by 4 whole games. With 8 wins in a row, they're a perfectly symmetrical 10-2 at home and 10-2 on the road.
The Raptors just played three games in four nights, and I made sure to catch each one. Much like the Leafs, this Raps team could be special.
The Raps are 3-0, despite playing a couple of strong teams in the Celtics and Wizards. They even rested Kawhi Leonard for last night's game in Washington, and still won. So far, so very good!
No DeRo, but no problem yet. BFF Kyle Lowry has been light's out, Fred VanVleet's been great, Serge Ibaka seems to have found a time machine, Pascal Siakam's been great, JV's been great, Danny Green's been great... But let's talk about Kawhi...
Kawhi Leonard in two games has been outstanding, averaging 27.5 points and 11 rebounds. He might already be the best player who ever played for the Toronto Raptors. This is going to be fun.
My son's excited, I'm excited, and you should be excited. Go Raps!
Whoa. While we slept, Masai Ujiri reached agreement in principle to acquire San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard for a package that includes DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan was told last night, and the other parts of the deal are unknown at the moment I'm typing these words.
DeMar DeRozan is the greatest Toronto Raptor of all time. It's been an absolute pleasure watching his progress these past nine years, and when Chris Bosh left for Miami, he said this:
Don't worry, I got us...— DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) June 29, 2010
Kawhi Leonard is the better player, but he's heading to the Lakers after this season, right? And he's said he has no interest in playing for the Raptors.
I just hope Masai Ujiri knows what he's doing. I have great concerns about this trade, but I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, until there's no doubt...
We have the final details. The Toronto Raptors have agreed to trade DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a 2019 protected first-rounder to the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green.
The Toronto Raptors are replacing Dwane Casey with assistant coach Nick Nurse. Nurse has been with the Raptors since 2013. He's the first new coach hire of team president Masai Ujiri’s tenure.
Fuck it, bring 'em all back next season. Casey, too. These Raps entertain me, and I'm okay with 59 regular season wins, winning a round (or two) and then losing to THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL-TIME.— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) May 8, 2018
I've watched all or part of almost every Raptors game this season. I consider this the best Raptors team yet, and thought they could beat the Cavs and make their first finals appearance. I was a true believer.
Although you can no longer be swept in three games, that just happened to my Raps in the second round against LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. And these three games... man... what total and complete ownage.
Game One: Cleveland 113, Toronto 112
With apologies to Vince Carter who missed a three that would have beat the 76ers in a game seven that happened to fall on graduation day, this is the worst loss in Raptors history. We never trailed until OT, and had numerous opportunities to win. I'm still amazed we lost this one.
Game Two: Cleveland 128, Toronto 110
This is the most humiliating loss in Raptors history. Two minutes into the third quarter, I knew exactly what was going to happen. LeBron James went into beast mode and the Raps folded like a cheap suit. It was embarrassing.
Game Three: Cleveland 105, Toronto 103
We trailed the entire game and then somehow tied it up with 8 seconds left. Neither team had a timeout, so the Cavs got the ball in LeBron's hands and he took it from there. That shot... that playground shot as he faded away in a sideway jump and scored off the glass as time expired... had no business going in. This game... that moment... my son sat in stunned silence and I just looked at him and smiled. All hail the king. There's no shame in losing to the best. Like the meme says, I wasn't even mad... that was amazing.
Welcome to LeBronto.
The Toronto Raptors have clinched the top seed in the east with a 92-73 victory over the Indiana Pacers tonight. It was their 57th win of the season, and 33rd win at home, both new franchise records.
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