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  #201  
Old 01-31-2020, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
To add more grist to the mill, you could say the Raptors have an amazing away record, maybe second best. Itís an important statistic since in the playoffs roughly half your games arenít at home.

Sure. A bit vainglorious. But RickJay, what would you say are the Raptors chance of making it to the final? The Bucks?
If the playoffs started today:

ROUND 1: Toronto would play Orlando. The Magic beating the Raptors in a seven game series would be one of the most stunning upsets in NBA playoff history; I would say the Raptors are 99% likely to win this series.

ROUND 2: Toronto would play either Boston or Philadelphia, depending which team wins, and that is quite unclear. Either is a significant test for the Raptors; they are both outstanding. I'd estimate they have roughly a 55% chance of surviving this round.

ROUND 3: This is 90% likely to be against Milwaukee, and 10% likely to be against Miami or Indiana. I think Toronto is maybe 30% likely to beat the Bucks, and 60% likely to beat the Heat or Pacers.

If I'm doing my math right, that gives the Raps an 18% shot at the Finals - clearly the second best chance of any team in the East.

:If the playioffs started today" is a HUGE qualifier, though. Injuries change everything of course, but seeding matters too. If Toronto finishes third instead of second, then they play a really good team in Round 1 instead of Orlando, and go from "near certain to annihilate the Magic or the Nets or maybe the Bulls" to "Damn, tough series."
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  #202  
Old 02-01-2020, 12:04 PM
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That seems reasonable.

Congratulations to Nick Nurse. Coaching the All-Star game after a tenth consecutive win! The Raptors need to get better at third quarter defence, though, not every game should be so close.
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  #203  
Old 02-02-2020, 02:31 PM
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Looks like Lillard has made his peace. The guy has turned into a terror in the western conference, setting franchise and NBA records for scoring and combos. He's averaging in the high 40s over the past half dozen games, with Whiteside churning out double-doubles in every game and blocking shots like a madman. He even blocked Gobert in the Jazz game, which is no small feat. His scoring is also up. The team seems to be clicking on both offense and defense, defeating LA, Utah, GS, Indiana and Houston. Maybe they'll actually make the playoffs, barring any more catastrophic injuries.
  #204  
Old 02-02-2020, 08:17 PM
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Toronto won their eleventh straight game over the Chicago Bulls despite Gasol and Powell being hurt - Powell for at least four weeks. Terence Davis, a bench warmer not long ago, scored 31 points. Not a rising star? Címon.
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  #205  
Old 02-03-2020, 01:12 PM
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Looks like Lillard has made his peace. The guy has turned into a terror in the western conference, setting franchise and NBA records for scoring and combos. He's averaging in the high 40s over the past half dozen games, with Whiteside churning out double-doubles in every game and blocking shots like a madman. He even blocked Gobert in the Jazz game, which is no small feat. His scoring is also up. The team seems to be clicking on both offense and defense, defeating LA, Utah, GS, Indiana and Houston. Maybe they'll actually make the playoffs, barring any more catastrophic injuries.
I think it's much likelier than not. They only have to pass Memphis, and I am really, really convinced Portland is a way better team.

I note today that 538 still holds the Raptors as a 2% chance of winning it all, while they have the Sixers at 17% and the Celtics at 5%.

What is fascinating about this is their own system projects that he Raptors will finish second - which would mean they get an easy first round matchup and the Sixers get a tough one. I cannot for the life of me figure out how a reasonable analysis of those teams makes the Sixers more than twice as likely as Boston and Toronto COMBINED to win it all. The Sixers aren't the Knicks, but I watch them play and I just do not see an elite squad. I'm also not sure when 538 is so down on the Heat, who they consider to have effectively no chance at all.
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  #206  
Old 02-03-2020, 03:14 PM
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They're running two different prediction models, and the models are completely at odds with each other when it comes to the Raptors and 76ers (and a few other teams). The RAPTOR model gives the 76ers a 17% chance of winning the title, and the Raptors 2%, as you say. But the ELO model gives the Raptors 16% and the 76ers 2%. RAPTOR is a player-based model, so it must be putting a huge value on Embiid or something like that.

One other interesting thing about the ELO projections is that the Raps are 25% to win the East, so they're being projected as a pretty strong favorite in the finals, should they make it there.
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Old 02-03-2020, 07:14 PM
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I find RAPTOR baffling. I've tried to make sense of it, and realize it's based on their player ratings, but it seems really disconnected from

A) Any sense of how basketball players work together and
B) Any other analysis of the effectiveness of the players we're talking about.

I mean, I am pretty sure there is some reason RAPTOR thinks the Sixers are the bee's knees. I just can't figure that out.

The ELO rating makes far more sense. There is simply no way to ignore the difference between finishing second and finishing not second, when finishing second means a much, much poorer first round opponent.
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  #208  
Old 02-04-2020, 10:45 AM
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Statistical models are complex, and probably considered ďworks in progressĒ by the site owner. Because of the focus on stars like Curry or LeBron, it might have made sense to highlight players. I think itís an inferior model - because of injuries, subtle team interactions and rising stars. A guy like Davis was undrafted and didnít play much, so had few statistics. Called into action, after a few games he just scored over thirty points. Perhaps out of spite for not being named a US rising star.

I still give the Raptors a 25% shot at making the finals as optimistic as this may sound.
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  #209  
Old 02-05-2020, 07:39 PM
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Apparently per Woj, Iguodala is off to Miami and will get a 2 year extension at 30 million total -at 36 years old no less.

I’m not sure this will make much difference as I feel his best years are behind him, but I am curious what Memphis will get back. I haven’t seen anything yet. Memphis is fun.
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  #210  
Old 02-05-2020, 08:07 PM
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Toronto's win streak looks in trouble.

I remain pretty convinced that for this year's run, OG Anunoby is a liability. I like him, he's young and talented, but it's been a long time since he had a major impact game, and I am not at all confident he's going to help them win in the 2020 playoffs. That said, there is really no obvious trade for a reasonable price they could make right now.
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  #211  
Old 02-05-2020, 09:10 PM
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The Raptors were roundly outplayed, out scored 42-18 in one quarter by the Pacers. Hollis-Jefferson back from his injury and held scoreless. Anunoby also held scoreless with less excuses. I wouldn’t call him a liability yet, but certainly getting there and needs to do better quickly. They could have used Gasol and Powell. The Pacers defense looked great.

But in the end, they somehow pulled it off. Still not sure how. Ibaka kept them in it, combining with Siakam and Lowry for something like 87 points. Twelve consecutive wins is a franchise record, and I’m far from convinced they deserved it. But these guys don’t give up.

I couldn’t believe the pundits thought the Pelicans would beat the Bucks. Took me a minute to remember Zion, who played well in the first half but is one guy against many.

Tough win. We’ll take it.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:57 AM
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11-0 run to end the game when down by 10. I've never seen the Raptors do that before. Actually, I'm not sure I've seen anyone do that before.
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  #213  
Old 02-06-2020, 09:16 AM
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That's a great win for the Raptors. It does seem to me that there are more late comebacks than there used to be, maybe because the increased prevalence of three-point shooting is causing more variance.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:35 AM
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The Blazers lost their momentum and suffered a severe beatdown by Denver the other night. They were down 26 at the half and never recovered. Denver had a swarming defense and everything POR threw up clanged off the rim. Whiteside's impressive string of double-doubles was broken, with the rest of the team looking completely hapless.
  #215  
Old 02-06-2020, 09:51 AM
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That's a great win for the Raptors. It does seem to me that there are more late comebacks than there used to be, maybe because the increased prevalence of three-point shooting is causing more variance.
It'd be interesting to do a study of this, but surely it HAS to be true?
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:49 AM
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It'd be interesting to do a study of this, but surely it HAS to be true?
Given the drastic increase in 3s taken over the last half decade, it stands to reason that it would be.
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  #217  
Old 02-06-2020, 12:37 PM
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Google Scholar is good for these sorts of questions. For example, in 2014-15, 71% of teams leading at the midpoint one the game. I just looked at one paper, got better things to do right now.
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  #218  
Old 02-06-2020, 02:44 PM
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Trade deadline is over (although some come after the bell)... I can't believe the Cavs traded for Andre Drummond when they have Love and his awful, overbloated contract. The Pistons don't get anything really, since they have to wait until 2023 for the lesser of a 2nd round pick (since Cavs have two). Pretty cheap for a guy who almost averages 20/20.

Minnesota seems to have gotten the better of the deal, unless those picks develop. Then again, they kept getting lottery picks year after year, and never made the playoffs until they got Jimmy Butler. I think it was appeasement towards Towns, who wanted Russell.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:36 PM
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The Raptors did nothing, as expected.

Once again people were fretting about Masai Ujiri bolting for the Knicks; this happens every time the Knicks have an opening in the front office. Once again he didn't take the job, and there was no evidence it was offered.
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Old 02-07-2020, 11:06 AM
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The Raptors did nothing, as expected.

Once again people were fretting about Masai Ujiri bolting for the Knicks; this happens every time the Knicks have an opening in the front office. Once again he didn't take the job, and there was no evidence it was offered.
Were you hoping they'd do something? I think the team they have is really good, underrated. And come playoff time, they have that experience.
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Old 02-07-2020, 01:23 PM
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Not really. I don't think they're strong at small forward; OG Anunoby is still raw and inconsistent and Norm Powell has been hurt a lot. But there simply wasn't any obvious trade fit that would not have cost vastly more in the long run than it was worth.

I think they have a real shot at repeating and it would have been great to be able to upgrade, but I don't think they need to mortgage the entire future to take a crack at 2020. This is generally a young team with both a legitimate shot at adding Giannis as a free agent after 2020-2021, and they have to replace Kyle Lowry in a season or two. They need cap space for both, and any upgrade was going to require taking on long term salary. The Raptors are in a position to be one of the best teams in the NBA for years to come, and I wouldn't want to see that traded away.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:55 PM
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Raps beat the Pacers again, this time in Indianapolis. 13 in a row, the longest streak by a major league sports team in Toronto history.

Serge Ibaka is playing the best ball of his career. Every minute is an impact minute.
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:56 PM
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It's halftime right now in Utah, where the Blazers and Jazz are having an old-fashioned rumble in the jungle. Some tough basketball being played. Blazers lost Simons to a concussion, and Whiteside is on the bench with a contusion. Ariza got tossed in the second quarter for going after a ref, and Mello nearly got into it with an opponent. Blazers are down to seven active players right now and putting up a ferocious fight, leading at the half by 14 points. I hope they can maintain the energy for the second half.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:20 AM
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Utah won, as it turned out. My prediction that the Blazers would catch up and make the playoffs, which I made just a week and a half ago, is looking a little shaky.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:30 AM
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Utah won, as it turned out. My prediction that the Blazers would catch up and make the playoffs, which I made just a week and a half ago, is looking a little shaky.
Sadly for POR, the only open shooter at the buzzer was Swanigan, who is dismal from that range. Or any range, really.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:23 AM
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Too bad for the Blazers the refs missed that goal-tending call
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:07 PM
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Utah won, as it turned out. My prediction that the Blazers would catch up and make the playoffs, which I made just a week and a half ago, is looking a little shaky.
They have 29 games left and are 2.5 back. They still have plenty of time.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:18 PM
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Raptors started strong against the Nets and were up 15 points in the early 4th quarter. But playing back-to-back, they looked tired in the fourth. Brooklyn came back and the Raptors squeaked our a one point win.

But 14 straight wins! Weíll take it. Lowry and Powell out. Gasol better but why not rest until after the All Star? Davis played a great game, as did Matt Thomas. VanVleet shines when Lowry is out. Anyway, despite some jitters at the end, the boys did it again. Good thing they were at home.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:01 AM
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Too bad for the Blazers the refs missed that goal-tending call
Don't get me started on that one. What a fuck-up! Everyone saw it except for the guys who are paid to see it! The refs admitted after post-game review that "Yep, we're fucking idiots."
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:19 PM
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Don't get me started on that one. What a fuck-up! Everyone saw it except for the guys who are paid to see it! The refs admitted after post-game review that "Yep, we're fucking idiots."
Yes, that was unfortunate. I think that's why the league didn't fine Lillard. I always want fairness.. They should have used that silly review, which they over-use for any physicality, wasting so much time trying to give a guy a flagrant 1/2.

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  #231  
Old 02-10-2020, 11:15 AM
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The ending to last nights Jazz-Rockets game was really something. The Rockets went ahead by two after a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left... and lost, after the Jazz sunk a 3-pointer from Atlantis. Great game, these teams would make a tough playoff.
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  #232  
Old 02-10-2020, 09:15 PM
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Fifteen in a row for the Raptors. OG Anunoby had his best game of the year, by far; 25 points on 10-for-13 and he was cleaning the glass big time, 12 boards.

Serge Ibaka was out (flu symptoms) and Gasol and Powell are still out, but apparently nothing can stop the Raps right now. They had to start Rondae HJ, who hasn't played a lot lately, but he came in and was outstanding at center.

The Raptors only used four bench players, and of them Matt Thomas only played a few minutes, but all of them were bad, an unusual thing for a Raptor game.
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Old 02-11-2020, 12:08 PM
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It was a very strange game. The papers have been down on Anunoby, which I understand, but I had decided Nick Nurse knows a lot more about strategy than I do and defer to his expertise. With Ibaka and Gasol out, Anunoby played a great game. But in the first half, they seemed to abandon defence entirely, allowing 75 points or something. They didn’t miss many shots, but had 14 turnovers or so.

The T-wolves have so many recent trades they are a different team despite a long string of recent losses and a victory over the Clippers. But Lowry and VanVleet nearly lead the league in minutes played, and their endurance showed. When the Raptors finally began to play defence, they had a lot more energy in the fourth and put it away. Hollis-Jefferson played very well. But 538 called for an easy win, which was far from apparent after that strange first half.
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Old 02-12-2020, 09:47 AM
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Blazers got the crap kicked out of them by NOLA last night. They did fine in the first half, then crapped out and were outscored 2-1 in the 3rd. Zion Williamson shredded the defense. For a guy built like a fire plug, he's fast and lethal underneath. POR gave up and pulled their starters about halfway through the 4th quarter. N'Orleans' bench continued to outplay the Blazers and won by 21 points.
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Old 02-13-2020, 05:37 PM
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Well, shit. On the way to getting another shellacking (this time from Memphis), Damian Lillard suffered a groin injury. That means no All Star participation, of course. But he's playing this down and saying that he's focusing on getting well so the Blazers can make it into the playoffs. I'm betting that he's down for longer than he's letting on, which would mean that the Blazer's slim chance of making the playoffs is likely now NO chance.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:45 PM
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Does anyone think the All-Star Game will be a little more competitive in the spirit of Kobe Bryant? I hope so... It's been getting very boring. I want to see the best compete against the best. I'd also be in favor of home-court advantage, which I think they do in baseball.
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:41 PM
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Does anyone think the All-Star Game will be a little more competitive in the spirit of Kobe Bryant? I hope so... It's been getting very boring. I want to see the best compete against the best. I'd also be in favor of home-court advantage, which I think they do in baseball.
How would home-court advantage even work in a basketball All-Star Game?
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:47 AM
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How would home-court advantage even work in a basketball All-Star Game?
If the East wins, then when the NBA Finals arrives, the team that comes out of the East (Raptors last year) would automatically get homecourt advantage.

This was a competitive all-star game, which is what people want -- the best COMPETING against the best.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:32 PM
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Cough, cough. Bump.

Am looking forward to seeing if the rested Taptors bring it during the next slog - lots of games against good teams; Gasol likely back.

The Nets sure did in the second half yesterday although the 76ers looked better in OT.
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Old 02-21-2020, 12:50 PM
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As I predicted, Lillard is out for at least five more games. The Blazers would have to win 16-20 games out of the 26 remaining in order to make the playoffs. I just don't see it happening, particularly after their shitty performance in the last two games. Simons and Trent do well at times, but they're inconsistent and no replacement for Lillard. The team really is tapped out for talent at this point. But stranger things have happened, so I'll still be watching.
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Old 02-21-2020, 02:16 PM
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Any predictions? I think the Clippers beat the Bucks in The Finals.
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:23 AM
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Hmm, guess Gasol and Powell are out a little longer. No matter, the playoffs are more important.

Beat the Suns in a fairly choppy and inconsistent effort, with good shooting but tons of turnovers.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:49 PM
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I say the final will be the Lakers versus the Raptors. Could happen.
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Old 02-23-2020, 09:44 PM
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Raptors 127, Pacers 81. Dear God.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:55 AM
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If I had to bet money on the Finals matchup I'd bet Bucks-Lakers. The Bucks are an objectively better team than the Raptors.

The Raptors, Clippers and Celtics are all good enough to stage an upset, though. I'm not sold on the Nuggets.
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Old 02-24-2020, 04:26 PM
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The thing is, I would say some of the teams that the Raptors beat last year were objectively better than Toronto. And the Raptors have lost a number of close games with huge numbers of injuries. Without these, their record would clearly be better than it is.

The Raptors donít have someone like Giannis. The question is how much they could shut him down. They have had some successes in shutting down some very good players who are not as good as Giannis. On their side is one of the most creative coaches in the league. The Bucks are better. But not so much better the ball couldnít roll their way if the Bucks had some tough series or injuries. Iím not sure they have the bench depth Toronto does.

The Lakers seem objectively better than the Clippers. The reason the league rocks this year is a whole bunch of teams are good enough to win with a little luck and momentum.
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  #247  
Old 02-24-2020, 04:58 PM
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The thing is, I would say some of the teams that the Raptors beat last year were objectively better than Toronto.
Just the Bucks, and not by much. The Warriors maybe would have been but the loss of Kevin Durant meant they were not.

And, of course, this is a matter of probabilities. You have to win four playoff series and none are truly guaranteed. Even last year, they didn't beat the Sixers - definitely an inferior team by any measure - until literally after time was up in Game Seven. The Bucks-Lakers matchup is the most PROBABLE one. It's not certain.
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:10 PM
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The one reason I think the Bucks might not win it all is that in the playoffs, the pace is much slower. Giannis loves the running game; taking advantage of his athleticism in the open court. In a more half-court setting, guys will give him space to shoot the 3, and I don't think he can consistently make them. I wonder how many teams will throw a zone, maybe even a double-team at times and let Middleton beat them, which is another question. They have a pretty deep team and with more experience, it could be very competitive.

I just hope there are no injuries. Let the best of the best win.
  #249  
Old 02-24-2020, 06:12 PM
Dr_Paprika is offline
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It remains subjective, but I would say that both the Bucks and Warriors were often better teams last year than Toronto, which with Leonard and Green were surprisingly good. Still, they did better than almost anyone thought. I thought they made a big mistake trading for Gasol. This is why I am not Nick Nurse.

The Bucks finished better and were up 2-0 early in the division final. And though Leonard is good, the Warriors had Durant, Thompson and Curry who are all amazing when uninjured. The Raptors barely beat the 76ers. But without injuries this season, I guess their record would be a little worse than Miluakee’s. Like last year.
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Last edited by Dr_Paprika; 02-24-2020 at 06:13 PM.
  #250  
Old 02-24-2020, 07:46 PM
borschevsky is online now
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Yeah, the Raptors were deserving champs last year, but Iím always a bit amazed how it worked out, when any of the last three series could very easily have gone against them. The Philly series came down to the last shot, the Bucks were up 2-0 and game 3 went to double overtime, and Curry had a shot to win game 6, not to mention the Durant and Klay injuries. Each series couldíve been flipped by a single basket going the other way.

The margins are so small sometimes. There are a lot of talking heads saying how the Kawhi trade is the example to be emulated now, and theyíd probably be saying the opposite if the Philly shot had bounced out.
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