Game Review: Raptors at Cavaliers


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The 1st quarter was one of the highest scoring periods in the NBA this season. There was a total of 80 points scored. Jonas Valanciunas got it started for Toronto with 9 points, while DeMar DeRozan and Fred VanVleet both went for 6. On the Cleveland end, LeBron James put up 9 points and 8 assists. Kevin Love had a great performance in the 1st as he scored 10 points. Toronto trailed 38-42.

The Raptors picked up where they left off on offense, scoring a total of 41 points this time around. Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl led the charge for the Raptors as they combined for 17 points. Pascal Siakam played excellent defense on Kevin Love, and he also put up 7 points. With 3:43 remaining in the half, DeRozan drove towards the hoop and prepared to throw down a vicious dunk over LeBron. LeBron smartly moved out of the way and allowed DeRozan flush down the slam dunk. VanVleet drained s three-pointer with 0.2 left on the clock. Toronto led Cleveland 79-64.

The Cleveland PG's played outstanding coming out of halftime. Both George Hill and Jose Calderon scored 9 points and dished out a few assists. LeBron recorded 4 assists in the period, which helped their offense operate efficiently. Kyle Lowry was the only bright spot for Toronto in the quarter as he scored 8 points. The Raptors only led by 1 point going into the final quarter of play, the score set at 99-98.

LeBron James dominated the 4th quarter. King James scored 14 points and recorded 5 assists. DeRozan tried to rally his team back as he scored 9 points, but it wasn't enough to regain control of the lead. With 27 seconds remaining, Kevin Love hit the dagger three-pointer off of a assist from Lebron. Toronto tried everything they could to fight back. With 10.4 remaining in regulation, DeRozan hit a jumper over Jeff Green to bring the lead within 1 point, the score 128-129. The Raptors had to immediately foul right after, and they sent LeBron to the line. James iced the game by making his two free throws. Despite some questionable no calls by the Refs, specifically when Norman Powell was blatantly fouled on a fast break with 9:43 left in the 4th and the last play of the game when it appeared DeRozan absorbed contact on his game tying shot, they are not to blame for this loss. The Cavs had to put up 132 points and a ridiculous performance from LeBron in order to win, and the Raptors should be proud of that. The Toronto Raptors were defeated by the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-132.

6ix Best
Kyle Lowry: 24pts, 4 rebounds, 7 assists
DeMar DeRozan: 21pts, 3 rebounds, 5 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 17pts, 8 rebounds
Fred VanVleet: 16pts, 5 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 15pts, 8 rebounds
Delon Wright: 12pts, 5 assists

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Magic


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Toronto big men went off in the 1st quarter. Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas combined for a total of 16 points, more than half of all of the points scored for the Raptors. Orlando's rookie SF Jonathan Issac led the Magic in the quarter with 8 points. At the 10:00 minute mark in the quarter, Aaron Gordon threw down a 360° dunk off of a Toronto turnover. Kyle Lowry had an impressive quarter as he recorded 6 points and 4 assists. The Raptors trailed the Magic 24-25 after one.

Norman Powell had an explosive 2nd quarter as he dropped a quick 10 points. Seeing Norm score the ball well on offense is a great sign that he is gaining his confidence back. Lowry had a big quarter as he easily scored 8 points. The Magic were led by Shelvin Mack and Gordon, who combined for 14 points. The Raptors were up by 1 point going into halftime, leading the Magic 52-51.

The Magic had a very productive quarter coming out of halftime. Gordon and D.J. Augustin went for 12 points, and they held Toronto to only 16 points. With 10:17 remaining in the quarter, Ibaka had a nasty block on a Gordon layup attempt. The Raptors struggled offensively as Orlando played great defense. Ibaka led the squad with 5 points. Toronto trailed 68-76 heading into the final quarter of play.

The Raptors dominated Orlando on every level during the 4th quarter. Toronto played extraordinary defense, limiting the Magic to only 10 points off of 3/19 shooting. With 8:49 remaining in the game, Pascal Siakam had a huge block on Mack, sending the ball out of bounds. Before the ball was even out of bounds, Siakam tracked down the ball and used hid athleticism to throw it to a teammate. Delon Wright led Toronto with 8 points, Lowry added on 6 points, and Siakam put up 5. Toronto won this game due to Lowry's amazing shooting performance, knocking down 7 three pointers. The Raptors defeated the Magic 93-86.

6ix Best
Kyle Lowry: 25pts, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 3PM
Serge Ibaka: 13pts, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
Delon Wright: 10pts, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Norman Powell: 10pts, 2 rebounds
Jonas Valanciunas: 9pts, 8 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 8pts, 7 rebounds, +/- 14

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 49


Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)




Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Raptors' 11 game win streak was snapped at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder this past weekend, making the journey to 12 straight wins seem like an impossible task. Although many fans will blame the poor officiating for the reason the Raptors lost, it's important to note that the team did a lot of things on their own to lose that game. However, not all is lost as the Raptors are still the Number 1 team in the Eastern Conference, and are still 5 games ahead of the Number 2 seeded Boston Celtics. They have a tough schedule ahead and the Raptors ought to use their acquired frustration towards winning their upcoming games.

  • Joining host Adam Corsair to discuss these and other topics is Demar Grant of Tip of the Tower - part of the FanSided Network. Demar and Adam break down all the latest happenings surrounding the Raptors including the importance of resting some of the main players on the roster, what the Raptors need to do in order to gain respect from the US media, some Culture Change Checkup ("CCC") on how it has positively effected the team's performance this season, whether or not it's more important for the Raptors to beat Cleveland in Cleveland or for Cleveland to beat Toronto - period, predicting this week's games, and so much more!

It's a Raptors discussion you do not want to miss!

Follow DeMar on Twitter: @DemarJGrant
Visit DeMar's work HERE

Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Thunder


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Thunder came out of the gates on fire, dropping 40 points in the first quarter. Steven Adams led Oklahoma City with 14 points, and Russell Westbrook recorded 6 assists. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 13 points in the quarter. Toronto trailed 34-40 after one.

Toronto had control of the 2nd quarter, especially on the offensive end. The Raptors scored 30 points in the quarter led by DeRozan's 6 assists. Delon Wright and Lucas Nogueria combined for 10. With 6:24 remaining in the half, Nogueria drove past Raymond Felton and threw down a thunderous dunk. Bebe was fouled on the dunk, and he made the free throw. The Raptors trailed by 2 points as the score was 64-66.

DeRozan was a offensive beast for the Raptors in the 3rd period. Deebo dropped 10 points, while Lowry and C.J. Miles combined for 10. At the 2:18 mark in the quarter, Oklahoma City's Paul George performed a hesitation crossover that shook DeRozan, allowing George to get a easy dunk. The Raptors forced 5 turnovers in the quarter, but it seemed that they gave the ball right back after each one. Toronto led 98-97 going into the final period of play.

Westbrook was absolutely unstoppable in the 4th quarter. The reigning MVP had 15 points and 4 rebounds in the frame. With 9:33 remaining in the game, Miles drove along the baseline and posterized former Raptor, Patrick Patterson. This play was the only bright spot for Toronto in the quarter. After some questionable calls by the Refs later in the game, DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and head coach Dwane Casey were all ejected from the contest. Toronto struggled all night to grab rebounds, which ultimately caused their loss. Lowry had more rebounds than Jonas Valanciunas, which goes to show their struggles. The Raptors we're defeated by the Thunder 125-132, snapping Toronto's 11 game win streak.

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 24pts, 5 assists
Kyle Lowry: 22pts, 4 rebounds, 10 assists
Delon Wright: 15pts, 8 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 15pts
Jonas Valanciunas: 10pts, 2 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 10pts, 2 rebounds, +/- 10

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Mavericks


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

DeMar DeRozan took over the game from the beginning as he dropped 11 points in the 1st quarter. Delon Wright started in place of Kyle Lowry (rest), and did a good job of getting his teammates involved. Wright recorded 3 assists in the period. Toronto's only problem in the quarter was guarding Harrison Barnes. Barnes scored 9 points in the quarter with ease. The Raptors led Dallas 29-27 after one.

Toronto was owned by the Dallas Point Guards in the 2nd. JJ Barea dropped 12 points, while Dennis Smith Jr. dropped 6. Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles combined for 10 points in the quarter. Jonas Valanciunas added on 6 for the Raptors. The Raptors trailed 54-60 heading into halftime.

JV led the Raptors in scoring with 6 points, but he was soon turned into a poster. With 11:03 remaining in the quarter, Dallas's Dorian Finney-Smith absolutely posterized JV. Finney-Smith's dunk has now gone viral. Serge Ibaka later scored 5 points towards the end of the quarter. Toronto trailed by 6 going into the final quarter, the score set at 78-84.

DeMar took over in the 4th quarter for the Raptors. Deebo dropped 8 points in the period, most of the points coming from the free throw line. DeRozan got some help from Wright and Pascal Siakam, who combined for 11 points. VanVleet had the 3 assists in the quarter. The game was tied at 106-106 going into overtime.

Overtime: DeRozan owned overtime as he played lockdown defense and scored 5 points. JV knocked down 5 free throws to seal the game for the Raptors. The Raptors defeated the Mavericks 122-115 for their 11th consecutive win.

6ix Best:
DeMar DeRozan: 29pts, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 21pts, 12 rebounds
Delon Wright: 15pts, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
Fred VanVleet: 14pts, 4 rebounds, 8 assists
Serge Ibaka: 12pts, 7 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 12pts, 3 rebounds

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Pacers


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

Victor Oladipo got off to a hot start for the Pacers as he dropped 10 points early on in the quarter. Jonas Valanciunas scored 7 points for the Raptors, which helped keep the game close. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 11, but they still trailed Indiana at the end of the 1st. The Raptors trailed the Pacers 25-27.

The Pacers owned the 2nd quarter, led by Al Jefferson's 13 points. Jefferson dominated Toronto from the inside post. Indiana's Darren Collision added on 6 points of his own. Pascal Siakam led the Raptors in scoring with 6, while DeRozan contributed with 4 points. With 2.0 seconds remaining in the half, Collision nailed a fadeaway jump shot over DeMar for the buzzer beater. The Raptors we're behind 49-57 heading into halftime.

DeRozan took control of the game in the 3rd quarter. Deebo scored from all over the court, easily dropping 10 points on the Pacers. Serge Ibaka added on 5 points of his own. The Raptors turned the ball over 5 times in the quarter, which fortunately did not effect their rhythm. Toronto still managed to convert on most of their possessions despite the turnovers. At the 2:35 mark, DeRozan drove to the hoop and nailed an athletic layup over Al Jefferson. DeMar switched hands midair and finished with his left hand. Toronto trailed the Pacers by 2, the score set at 77-79.

The Raptors played outstanding in the final quarter of the game, outscoring the Pacers by 9 points. C.J. Miles went off going against his former team as he dropped 10 points on their heads. DeRozan continued his dominance with 8 points scored. Collision scored 10 points as he tried to lead the comeback for the Pacers, but the Raptors would not allow it. The Raptors defeated the Pacers 106-99 for their 10th consecutive win.

6ix Best
Jonas Valanciunas: 16pts, 17 rebounds, 4 blocks
DeMar DeRozan: 24pts, 4 rebounds, 7 assists
Kyle Lowry: 13pts, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
Serge Ibaka: 13pts, 11 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 12pts, 8 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 10pts

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Nets


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Raptors got absolutely destroyed by Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell during the first six minutes of the quarter. Russell went 7/7 on three-pointers and scored a grand total of 24 points in the period. Jonas Valanciunas led Toronto with 9 points in the quarter, while DeMar DeRozan added 8. The Raptors trailed the Nets 32-40.

Jakob Poeltl, Delon Wright, and JV combined for 18 points in the quarter, which accounted for more than half of all of Toronto's points. The Nets were led by Dante Cunningham and Caris Levert, who combined for 15 points. With 2:35 left in the half, Cunningham had a huge put-back dunk off of a missed layup by Levert. The crowd at the Barclay's Center erupted as he got fouled in the process, and he hit the free throw.Brooklyn outscored Toronto in the 2nd quarter 27-25. The Raptors trailed the Nets by 10 points headed into halftime, the score set at 57-67.

Toronto knew that they had work to do coming out of halftime as they trailed by 10. JV went off as he dominated the inside post for 9 points. Fred VanVleet knocked down 2 three-pointers in the quarter, while Kyle Lowry recorded 5 points and 4 assists. One suprise in the 3rd quarter was that DeRozan did not score any points. He leads the team in scoring, so it is a rarity when he doesn't tally any buckets. After a big third quarter, Toronto led 87-85.

The Raptors owned the 4th quarter of the game, led by C.J. Miles and his 12 points. DeRozan made up for his lack of points in the 3rd quarter as he dropped 7. Toronto was able to seal the win as they held the Nets to only 17 points in the quarter. The Raptors defeated the Nets 116-102 for their 9th straight win.

6ix Best:
Jonas Valanciunas: 26pts, 14 rebounds
Kyle Lowry: 11pts, 11 assists
DeMar DeRozan: 15pts, 7 rebounds
Fred VanVleet: 15pts, 4 assists, +/- 31
C.J. Miles: 12pts, 3 rebounds
Delon Wright: 10pts, 3 rebounds, 4 assists

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 48


Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)




Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Raptors have a strong lead over the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference; leading by 3.5 games, and 10.5 games ahead of the Pacers (NOT Cleveland). They are starting to build momentum in terms of their recognition in the United States, being ranked No. 1 in both and CBS' Power Rankings, an outstanding article by Zach Lowe on ESPN, and ranked No. 3 on ESPN's Power Rankings as well. The stage couldn't be set any better.
  • Joining host Adam Corsair for this special episode is the "Entertaining & Sexy" Peter Kaye of Life In Repeat. Peter and Adam breakdown all the things that have been going down with the Raptors as of late, including: The aforementioned importance of the media recognition for the team, Norman Powell beginning to gain more confidence, the impact of OG Anunoby's injury and how fortunate the Raptors are to have the depth to mitigate his absence, the importance of securing the No. 1 seed in the East, what their biggest Playoff obstacle may be, and predicting the games this week.
  • Also, please stay tuned for a special memorial to Adam's brother, Kyle, who passed away earlier this week after the discussion. 

It's a special Raptors discussion you will not want to miss!

Follow Peter Kaye on Twitter: @lifeinrepeat
Visit Peter's work HERE

Follow host Adam Corsair on Twitter: @ACorsair21
Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter & InstaGram: @SouthOfThe6ix

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Knicks


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

Jonas Valanciunas dominated the Knicks in the 1st quarter, recording 10 points and 4 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan got off to a great start as he was able to put up 7 points. New York's Luke Kornet and Frank Ntilikina combined for 13 in the period to keep the Knicks close to gaining the lead. With the 2.0 seconds left on the clock, C.J. Miles banked in a contested three-pointer from the top of the arc. The Raptors led 32-27 after one.

The Bench Mob from Toronto controlled the 2nd quarter, led by Delon Wright's 7 points. Raptors' two-way sharpshooter Malcolm Miller made his presence felt in the quarter as he knocked down 2 three-pointers. With 37.4 seconds on the clock, Serge Ibaka had a huge block on Ntilikina. Ibaka spiked his layup out of bounds and into the stands. Then with 5.0 seconds left in the half, Kyle Lowry drove down the court and kicked the ball out to Miller in the corner. Malcolm hit the three-pointer as time expired, giving Toronto a 65-57 lead.

Toronto destroyed New York's defense in the 3rd quarter, dropping 37 points on their heads. Ibaka and JV both scored 6, and Lowry led the team in points with 12. Miles was later subbed in and nailed 2 three-pointers within one minute. The only thing the Knicks had going for them was Tim Hardaway Jr. and Emmanuel Mudiay, who combined for 16 points. The Raptors led the Knicks 102-86 heading into the final quarter.

Toronto cleared out their bench in the 4th quarter and allowed their reserves to get some playing time. Fred VanVleet dropped 8 and Wright scored 5. One of the Raptors newest pickups, Nigel Hayes, got his first minutes with Toronto late in the 4th quarter. Hayes showed a lot of promise as he immediately knocked down 2 three-pointers. Toronto had 7 players score in double digits, as well as a total of 69 bench points. The Raptors defeated the Knicks 132-106 for their 8th straight win.

6ix Best
Jonas Valanciunas: 17pts, 9 rebounds
Kyle Lowry: 16pts, 4 rebounds, 7 assists
Serge Ibaka: 14pts, 7 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 13pts, 4 rebounds
Jakob Poeltl: 10pts, 8 rebounds
Delon Wright: 12pts, 4 assists

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Rockets


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

Kyle Lowry went off in the 1st quarter as he dropped 13 points on the Rockets. Jonas Valanciunas added on 6 points and 2 rebounds. Toronto defended James Harden extremely well, holding him to only 5 points. Toronto doubled the amount of points Houston scored in the quarter. The Raptors led 32-16 after one.

DeMar DeRozan took control of the 2nd quarter, dropping 7 points. In addition to DeRozan's 7, Malcolm Miller scored 7 points of his own. Harden started to take control of the game for the Rockets late in the quarter. The Beard dropped 9 points throughout the last few minutes of the half. Toronto led the Rockets 58-43 going into halftime.

The Raptors had no answer on how to stop Harden in the 3rd quarter. He was able to pick the defense apart for 14 points. Eric Gordon made it even more for difficult for Toronto after scoring 6 points. Lowry and Serge Ibaka defended Toronto's lead as they combined for 18 points in the quarter. The score was 83-75 heading into the final quarter of regulation.

Harden was, again, a force to be reckoned with the for the Rockets. In the 4th quarter, he dropped 9 points with ease. Fred VanVleet played amazing for the Raptors in the quarter, including brilliant passing and 7 points scored. With 2:10 left in the game, Harden nailed a step back three-pointer over VanVleet. Freddy couldn't have played better defense on Harden: it's just that he is purely unstoppable. At the 1:34 mark in the quarter, JV had a gigantic block on Rockets center Clint Capela. His block gave Toronto the ball back in crunch time, and it also electrified the crowd. After a crazy back and forth game, specifically the 4th quarter, it definitely lived up to its hype. Toronto ended Houston's 17 game winning streak, just like how Drake said it would happen. This was a statement victory for Toronto as the The Raptors defeated the Rockets 108-105.

6ix Best:
Kyle Lowry: 30pts, 6 assists, 7/9 3PM
DeMar DeRozan: 23pts, 7 rebounds, +/- 8
Jonas Valanciunas: 14pts, 10 rebounds, 2 steals
Fred VanVleet: 11pts, 5 assists
Serge Ibaka: 11pts, 7 rebounds
Malcolm Miller: 7pts

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Pistons


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

Jonas Valanciunas, Norman Powell, and Kyle Lowry made their presence felt early in the 1st quarter of the game. JV recorded 8 points, and Lowry put up 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Powell was inserted back in the starting lineup and he was playing with a chip on his shoulder. Norm dropped 5 points early on in the quarter looking to prove his doubters wrong. Detroit's Reggie Bullock caused some trouble for Toronto as he was able to score 9 points. The Raptors led 27-23.

The Pistons took control of the game during the 2nd quarter, doubling the amount of points the Raptors scored. Detroit had nine different players score in the quarter, led by Blake Griffin's 9 points. With around 10:16 remaining in the half, Detroit's Eric Moreland hyped up the Pistons bench and crowd as he has a huge block on Jakob Poeltl. Moreland slapped the ball right against the backboard, which really gave Detroit the momentum. Toronto trailed the Pistons 45-59 going into halftime.

The Raptors absolutely exploded in the 3rd quarter as they tallied up 40 points. DeMar DeRozan led the team with 14 points, and Kyle scored 10. Powell played great in the quarter as he dropped 7 points. At the 9:09 mark in the period, Norm split through the defense of Ish Smith and Luke Kennard and cut towards the basket. Valanciunas hit him in stride, and Norm flushed down the dunk. After this monster offensive quarter. The Raptors led 85-84.

DeRozan owned the 4th quarter, and that's about all that can be said. The kid from Compton dropped 14 points, scoring 8 of them in the final two minutes of regulation. After Smith hit a clutch three-pointer, DeRozan answered back with an incredible shot. DeMar twisted midair and knocked down a jumper in the face of James Ennis III with 18.2 seconds remaining. Griffin then answered back with a fade-away shot over Pascal Siakam to tie the game up at 111-111. DeMar then went the full length of the court and threw down a nasty, ferocious dunk over Pistons' Anthony Tolliver. This might go down as the dunk of the year due to the circumstances of the game and the height DeRozan has reached. DeMar was fouled on the dunk, and proceeded to hit the free throw to lead the Pistons 114-112. With .9 seconds left in regulation, Griffin knocked down a hook shot over Siakam again to send the game to overtime. The score was 114-114 heading into overtime.

Overtime started out very sloppy, both teams failing to score for the first three minutes. With 1:37 left, DeRozan nailed a jumpshot after getting fouled by Reggie Bullock. DeMar knocked down the free throw to put the Raptors up by 3. The Pistons fired back as Blake Griffin drilled a three-pointer over JV to tie the game up with 37 seconds left. With 6.1 seconds remaining, DeRozan drove down the court and into the paint. He drew four defenders in to him, which allowed Fred VanVleet to get open. DeMar found him open in the corner, and ice cold Freddy drilled the game winning bucket. Blake Griffin missed the game winning shot, resulting in a Toronto win. The Raptors defeated the Pistons in 121-119 in overtime victory. The Raptors become the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot.

DeMar DeRozan showed just how amazing he really is as both a player and a person. After going public with his battle with depression, DeMar motivated other athletes to share their thoughts and feelings regarding this issue as well. Athletes inspired by DeRozan included Cleveland's Kevin Love and Washington's Kelly Oubre Jr. DeMar dropped 42 points in this game, and absolutely dominated in clutch time. His impact on both the community and the court will never go unnoticed.

6ix Best:
DeMar DeRozan: 42pts, 6 assists, 43 minutes played
Kyle Lowry: 15pts, 7 rebounds, 15 assists
Norman Powell: 17pts, 4 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 14pts, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks
Pascal Siakam: 8pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Fred VanVleet: 6pts, 5 rebounds, game-winning shot

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Toronto Is A Legit Contender


Article Written by Matthew Hickey (@Matt_Hickey10)

It is understandable why people thought that the 2016-2017 Toronto Raptors were not serious contenders to make much noise in last year's playoffs. Nearly 47% of their points per game came from their All-Star backcourt. There was little passing involved in the offense, with coach Dwane Casey running mostly isolation plays which became predictable and easy to defend in the postseason. The opposing defense would simply force the ball out of the hands of Lowry and Derozan, leaving the team to rely on role players who just could not get the job done.

In the 2017 off-season, Masai Ujiri - President of basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors - decided it was time for things to change. “We need a culture reset,” said Ujiri in a media address in early May. The team began this by getting their Dynamic Duo of Kyle Lowry and Demar Derozan to buy into a new system. This new system would involve more players on offense through less isolation basketball, utilize the three point shot more and in the end make the offense less predictable and harder to defend.

So far in the 2017-2018 season, it is clear that Toronto has succeeded in changing their offense to fit the modern NBA. The Raptors went from dead last in assists per game last season (18.5 per game), to 8th this season (23.5 per game). They also attempt 8.1 more three point shots than last season, while making 2.8 more per game. When you view the polarity, it is clear that the change has brought many positive factors to this team.

The style of play is not the only part of the Toronto culture that needed a reset. The new found confidence the Raptors have is a tremendous boost to the team morale. The chemistry possessed by every member of the organization also contributes to this boost. Since parting ways with some sub-par players who put a damper on the overall happiness, it is clear that the locker room is as safe and welcoming as ever.

When it comes to professional sports, the Toronto Raptors are one of the most disrespected franchises by American television and other media outlets. Despite being constantly forgotten and ignored by analysts, the only Canadian team in the NBA competes with (and even surpasses) America’s favourite championship contenders in many categories of statistics.

The Raptors own the fourth best offensive rating in the NBA, as well as the third best defensive rating. They are one of two teams to be top 5 in both of those categories, the only other being the defending champions - Golden State Warriors. Their efficiency and discipline is among the league’s best, currently averaging the fourth fewest turnovers per game while being fifth in true shooting percentage. It is very impressive to have such a disciplined team, when the roster is fifth youngest among potential playoff teams.

One of the most impressive concepts of this under dog team may quite possibly be how well they have played so far against established dominant contenders this season. When playing contenders such as Boston, Cleveland, Golden State and Houston, they hold a modest record of 3-3, with five games remaining against those teams (two vs. Cleveland, two vs. Boston and one hosting Houston.) Although 3-3 is not an outstanding record, the numbers in those games are what really make you reconsider. The Raptors are averaging a staggering 117.3 points per game during those six games, while only allowing 107.0 points to be scored against them per game. That is a +/- of +10.3 when playing other contenders, which is even better than their +/- overall this season of +8.6 per game, second in the NBA only to the Houston Rockets.

Out of all of the success that the Toronto Raptors have had this season, the most important has been the bench production. There was a big question as to who would step in to provide leadership and consistent production coming off of the bench when veterans such as Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker left the team in the off-season. When the style of play changed to help distribute the workload, a bit of that responsibility fell on all of the younger, less established players who hadn’t had much NBA level experience.

Players such as Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira were all forced to produce consistently despite each having no more than three years experience. The Raptors made a sign and trade move in the off-season with the Indiana Pacers, trading Cory Joseph to the Pacers for sharpshooter C.J. Miles, a 12 year veteran. Immediately this group of players began to train together, building a chemistry that has helped them grow tremendously as individuals.

The Raptors “Bench Mob” brings a gritty, fast pace style of play to the game, swaying each contest in favour of Toronto. The scoring of the bench currently sits at seventh place, at 41.2 points per night. The Raptors' bench - on average - outscores the bench of the opposing team by 4.1, with a net rating of 9.4, both being best in the league. They own the best defensive rating among benches. Moreover, the Toronto Raptors’ bench is relied on often, playing the third most minutes of all benches in the NBA, and they consistently get the job done.

The Toronto Raptors have proved time and time again this season that it is no mistake that they are the first place team in the Eastern Conference. They have the young pieces, the chemistry, and the perfect coaching staff to run it all. If they continue to play at this high level, there is no question that this team can make a deep run in this year’s postseason, and quite possibly bring a championship to Parliament Hill. .

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Hawks


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Hawks definitely had the advantage coming out of the gates, led by Kent Bazemore's 5 points. Miles Plumlee and Tyler Dorsey combined for 10 in favor of Atlanta as they led the Raptors. Toronto fought back later in the quarter as DeMar DeRozan's 7 points charged up the team. Starting his second game in the NBA, the sharpshooting Malcolm Miller dropped 5 points in the quarter. Toronto trailed 27-28 after one.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 5 points in the quarter, while Pascal Siakam dropped 4. The Raptors played great offense in the quarter as they tallied up 8 assists. With around 11:36 on the clock, Fred VanVleet and Siakam ran the pick and roll to perfection. VanVleet then threw Siakam an alley-oop, who flushed it down with one hand. It was almost as if the ball was magnetic and flew right to Pascal's hand. This dunk lit up the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors were behind 50-51 heading into halftime.

The Raptors and the Hawks both scored 30 points in the quarter, but it was Toronto who had the momentum going in their direction. DeRozan was unstoppable in the quarter with 12 points, and JV was a force to be reckoned with as he tortured the inside defense with 8 points. Atlanta's Dennis Schröder scored 6 points in the period. The Raptors trailed by 1 going into the 4th quarter, the score set at 76-77.

Toronto absolutely dominated the 4th quarter as they outscored the Hawks 30-13. C.J. Miles had 8 points, while Jakob Poeltl and Delon Wright both had 6 points. The Raptors locked up the Hawks on defense, containing them to only 13 points scored. This was one of Toronto's most efficient quarters of the season. With about 6:15 left in the game, Jakob rejected Mike Muscala's dunk attempt. His fierce rejection hyped up the crowd, and basically sealed the game. The Toronto Raptors win their 5th straight as they defeat the Atlanta Hawks 106-90.

6ix Best:
DeMar DeRozan: 25pts, 4 rebounds, 12/14 FTM (Free Throws Made)
Jonas Valanciunas: 15pts, 7 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 14pts, 7 rebounds, +/- 22
Serge Ibaka: 10pts, 6 rebounds
Kyle Lowry: 4pts, 7 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 6pts, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 46


Follow Host Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)



Toronto RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Raptors are STILL first place in the Eastern Conference, with a 2 game lead over the Boston Celtics and a 9 game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers. With a seemingly less strenuous schedule to close the season compared to the first half of the year, there's plenty of reason for optimism that the team can hold on to the top spot and cruise into the Playoffs with an easy first round. Moreover, it's quite possible that the Raptors could win 60 games for the first time in franchise history, which would add on to the enormous amount of success that has already been achieved.
  • Joining host Adam Corsair is Raptors die-hard fan, Abigail Amartey, to discuss the Raptors' success as well as some questions marks for their playoff run. Topics include: Malcolm Miller starting in place of OG Anunoby instead of Norman Powell. What does this mean for coach Dwane Casey's confidence in Norm not just for the near-term, but for the Playoffs as well?; The importance of winning Game 1 of any Playoff matchup; the importance of being able to close out tight games moving forward; why Raptors fans should want Gordon Hayward to come back with the Celtics in the Playoffs; predicting the upcoming games; and a whole lot more!

It's a Raptors show that you do not want to miss!

Follow Abigail on Twitter: @aamartey1


Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Hornets


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

Jonas Valanciunas and Serge Ibaka led the Raptors in the 1st quarter with two strong performances. JV put up 9 points and 3 rebounds, while Serge dropped 7 points and 3 blocks. DeMar DeRozan made his presence felt through his play-making as he notched 4 assists. Toronto played great defense throughout the quarter. Their only issue was guarding Kemba Walker. Kemba was able to score 5 points in the period. The Raptors led 26-21 after one.

Fred VanVleet was the spark-plug as he recorded 7 points. Delon Wright had a big 2nd quarter, dropping 5 points and 4 assists. With 5:52 remaining in the half, Pascal Siakam threw down a powerful dunk coming off of a fast break. Siakam outran Charlotte's Frank Kaminsky for the dunk. The Hornets out-rebounded Toronto 14-11 in the quarter, which was a huge edge that they were not able to take advantage of. The Raptors were ahead 52-43 over the Hornets.

The Raptors dominated the Hornets again coming out of halftime, led by Kyle Lowry and Valanciunas. The two combined for 14 points, which was nearly half of all points scored for Toronto in the quarter. At the 1:33 mark, Siakam showed his strength when he was fouled on a layup by Jeremy Lamb. Siakam nailed the layup and the free throw for the three-point play. The Raptors led the Hornets 82-69 heading into the final quarter.

Walker went off in the 4th quarter as he tried to bring Charlotte back into the game. Although he dropped 12 points in the quarter, it was too little too late for the Hornets. Lowry hit a couch step back three-pointer over Walker with about 4:18 remaining. That three-pointer shifted the momentum back over to Toronto. DeRozan iced the game with 8 points to seal the win. Toronto Raptors defeated the Charlotte Hornets 103-98.

Toronto had one of their greatest defensive games of the season as they held the Hornets to just 37.6% on FG's. Dwane Casey decided to go with Malcom Miller rather than the struggling Norman Powell in place of the injured OG Anunoby. This move suprised many, including myself. Norm's confidence is at an all-time low as a player, and getting benched yet again is not going to help. A smart move would be to send Norman down to the G-league for a game or two and let him destroy for the Raptors 905. This would definitely build his confidence back up and get him back to the level he was playing at last year.

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 19pts, 4 rebounds, 8 assists
Kyle Lowry: 14pts, 10 rebounds, 5 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 18pts, 13 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 17pts, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks
Fred VanVleet: 12pts, 3 assists, 3 rebounds
C.J. Miles: 12pts

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

The Benefit of Rest for OG Anunoby


Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)

         In the 2nd quarter of the Raptors’ 117-104 win over the Orlando Magic, rookie small forward OG Anunoby was forced to leave the game due to a right ankle injury. OG didn’t return for the 2nd half of that game and he didn’t play in win over the Wizards the following Friday, which ended his streak of starting all 60 games for the Raptors so far this season. There isn’t an update on whether or not Og will play on Sunday against Charlotte, but it appears that his injury isn’t too serious.

         Regardless if OG is healthy enough to play or not, I don’t see any reason why the Raptors should play him in any of their next two games. Their next two games are against the Charlotte Hornets, who are 28-35, and the Atlanta Hawks, 19-44, and last in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors should have no problem winning those two games, regardless of whether or not OG plays. If he is healthy enough to play, what I would do is sit him out against Charlotte and Atlanta, and then bring him back to play on Wednesday in Detroit. This gives him the entire weekend to recover, and it also prevents him from playing in a back-to-back scenario on Tuesday and Wednesday.

        In addition to the fact that the next 2 games are extremely winnable without OG, playing against these weak teams could be a good opportunity to get Normal Powell some more minutes, and try to build up his confidence. In the absence of OG, Powell has scored 0 points in a combined 28 minutes of play. He seems to be passing up some good shots, and it appears that his confidence level isn’t there right now, so maybe playing in a couple of home games against bad teams will give Norm the chance to break through and start knocking down some shots.

         Since the Raptors have such a deep bench, they’re prepared for an injury like this. They have a guy like Norman Powell who can step in at any moment, and if that doesn’t work out - like it hasn’t recently - they’ve got C.J. Miles at their disposal as well, who went off last night for 20 points on 7-10 shooting. Obviously the Raptors would like to have OG back in the lineup, but right now, there’s no reason to rush him back. He was running into a bit of a rookie wall anyway, so some rest would’ve been important to him regardless. I say you ease him back into the lineup after a few games off, let Norm play in his absence, and get OG ready for his first NBA playoff run.

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Wizards


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Wizards got out to a fast start in the first quarter as they jumped out to a 18-4 lead over the Raptors. Markieff Morris put up 7 and Bradley Beal scored 6. Toronto picked up the pace during the last 6 minutes of the quarter as DeMar DeRozan dropped 8 points. The Raptors trailed 19-27 after one.

Toronto went off in the quarter as nine different Raptors scored in the quarter. The Raptors outscored the Wizards by 12 points in the quarter. With 4:01 remaining in the half, Jonas Valanciunas got Washington's Marcin Gortat jumping on a pump fake and was able to drive past him. JV posterized Gortat with a monstrous slam-dunk that electrified the Toronto sideline. Toronto led the Wizards 51-47 heading into halftime.

Toronto and Washington went back and forth throughout the 3rd quarter. The Raptors was led by DeRozan's 6 points. Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry combined for 9 points. At the 10:28 mark in the quarter, DeRozan juked out his defender and threw down a baseline slam over Gortat. Toronto had problems guarding Washington's Otto Porter Jr. during the quarter, allowing him to score 13 points. C.J. Miles scored 6 points within the last minute of the quarter for the Raptors. Toronto led 77-74 heading into the final period.

Miles continued to have the hot hand going into the 4th quarter. He dropped a total of 11 points to ice the game for the Raptors. DeRozan and Fred VanVleet both scored 5 points to seal the game. With OG Anunoby out of tonight's game, Norman Powell started in his place at Small Forward. Powell failed to score any points, but he did a better than average job of guarding Bradley Beal. The Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 102-95.

6ix Best
DeMar DeRozan: 23pts, 4 rebounds, 4 assists
C.J. Miles: 20pts, 6/9 3PM
Kyle Lowry: 10pts, 7 rebounds, 5 assists
Fred VanVleet: 12pts, 4 rebounds, +/- 20
Jonas Valanciunas: 12pts, 4 rebounds
Serge Ibaka: 7pts, 4 rebounds

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors at Magic


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

The Raptors had a monster 1st quarter as they put up 42 points in the first 12 minutes of the game. Kyle Lowry led the team with 9 points, while Jakob Poeltl added on 7. DeMar DeRozan dropped 6 points of his own. The only problem for Toronto was guarding Orlando's Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier, who combined for 18 points. The Raptors led the Magic 42-37 after one.

Fred VanVleet led Toronto in 2nd quarter with 6 points, while DeRozan, Poeltl, Delon Wright, and Serge Ibaka all scored 4 points. Lowry also recorded 4 assists in the quarter. Orlando's Mario Hezonja caused some difficulty for the Raptors on defense as he picked them apart for 8 points. With around 4:36 left I the half, Hezonja had a huge reverse slam off of a Toronto turnover. His dunk electrified the Amway Center and shifted the momentum to the Magic. Toronto was ahead 69-63 at the end of the first half.

The Magic controlled the 3rd quarter, led by Fournier's 6 points. Jonathon Simmons put up 5 points of his own for Orlando. Toronto struggled from the charity stripe as they missed a total of 5 free throws. DeRozan put up 8 points in the period, while Lowry and Ibaka combined for 10. Toronto was barely leading as the quarter ended, the score set at 90-89.

Toronto's Bench Mob absolutely destroyed the 4th quarter, combining for a total of 21 points. Pascal Siakam led the way with 10 points, and VanVleet dropped 6. With 9:05 remaining in the game, Poeltl flushed down a monster slam dunk of a steak that pumped up the Toronto sideline. With about 25 seconds left, Lowry recorded his 11th assist off of an alley-oop to Siakam. The Toronto Raptors remain as the #1 seed in the East as they defeated the Orlando Magic 117-104.

6ix Best
Kyle Lowry: 19pts, 7 rebounds, 11 assists
DeMar DeRozan: 21pts, 4 assists
Pascal Siakam: 14pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Jakob Poeltl: 13pts, 8 rebounds, 5 assists
Fred VanVleet: 12pts, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Jonas Valanciunas: 10pts, 5 rebounds

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

SOT6 Podcast - Episode 44


Follow Host Adam Corsair (@ACorsair21)



Toronto RAPTORs talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Review/Preview

  • The Raptors still remain at the top of the Eastern Conference, but the lead is getting slimmer at just a half of a game. However, recently the Cavaliers have slowed down losing two of their last three since the end of the All-Star Break and seemingly falling back to form. With this said, it's important to analyze where the Raptors stand in the NBA Playoff race and what they need to work on to improve their chances of doing the impossible: reaching the NBA Finals.
  • Joining host Adam Corsair is Jordan Kligman of Hash Tag Basketball and the host of the Hash Tag Raptors Podcast! Jordan and Adam dive deep into the topics surrounding the Raptors such as OG Anunoby's recent struggles and where he fits in with the team's playoff plans; why no buy-out candidates will make sense for the team; why the Raptors are having difficulty closing games and how they can improve this aspect of their game; answering your Twitter questions and predicting the upcoming games!

It's a Raptors show that you don't want to miss!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @41Basketball
Subscribe to the Hashtag Raptors Podcast on iTunes HERE
Visit Jordan's work HERE

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)

Game Review: Raptors vs Pistons


Review Written by Adam Garfield (@AdamThe6God)

DeMar DeRozan owned the Pistons in the 1st quarter as he dropped 11 points. Kyle Lowry added on 6 points. Toronto played good defense throughout the quarter, but they struggled to guard Detriot's Ish Smith and Andre Drummond. Smith and Drummond combined for 12 points. The Raptors led 30-26.

Lowry led the Raptors in the 2nd quarter with 6 points, while Delon Wright and Serge Ibaka combined for 10 points. With 10:48 remaining in the half, Jakob Poeltl had a huge put-back dunk off of a Wright missed shot. This pumped up the bench and the fans in the Air Canada Centre. The Pistons committed 4 turnovers in the quarter, which contributed to the Raptors lead. Toronto led 59-53 going into the half.

Toronto's Big 3 of Ibaka, DeRozan, and Lowry combined for 24 points in the period. They single handedly outscored the Pistons in the quarter by 2 points. The Raptors recorded 6 assists in the quarter. Toronto got out to a 93-75 lead over the Pistons heading into the final quarter.

Wright and Poeltl controlled the 4th quarter with ease. The two youngsters from the University of Utah performed several highlight plays throughout the period, one of them happening with about 9:28 on the clock. Delon threw a no look, over the shoulder pass to Jakob, who powered down a huge dunk. Then with 6:20 on the clock, Poeltl had a gigantic poster on Drummond, one of the best rim defenders in the game. The Raptors routed the Pistons 123-94. The Raptors tallied 31 assists off of 42 makes, and this win was Toronto's 7th 25-point win, which is tied for the most in the league with Golden State.

6ix Best
Kyle Lowry: 20pts, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
DeMar DeRozan: 20pts, 7 assists
Serge Ibaka: 19pts, 9 rebounds
Pascal Siakam: 11pts, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
C.J. Miles: 9pts, 3 rebounds
Delon Wright: 8pts, 4 assists

Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)