Versus Vol. 1: Life In Repeat versus South of the 6ix

Image by Pozzobon Illustrations

Image by Pozzobon Illustrations

I had the honor and privilege of participating in the first “Versus Series” with my good friend, Peter “HB” Kaye of Life In Repeat. Peter and I have had numerous conversations on the the Podcast here at SOT6, each of which have been enjoyable and enlightening. Please do yourself a favor and follow Peter on Twitter - @lifeinrepeat - as well as visiting the LIR Website on the reg for all of your Toronto Raptors content.

This email exchange between Peter and myself really got my hyped for the playoffs and, perhaps, our fortunes will be different this year as Raptors fans. I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed participating in it. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that Peter was the brains behind this and really pushed me to be as thorough as I possibly could.


MONDAY APRIL 8th, 2019

Peter Kaye, Life In Repeat

Adam — thank you for agreeing to be part of this dialogue leading up to what we both hope will be a lengthy playoff run (the memories of our Therapy Session last spring are still fresh in my mind). I have no doubt that you and I are going to put on a Wrestlemania worthy performance here with our e-mail exchange. I’m talking a Bret Hart vs. HBK WrestleMania 12-like performance (even though I know you are partial to the WM13 clash between Bret Hart and Steve Austin).

Let’s start with what we have been waiting for all season. At this point in time, how confident are you, on a scale of 1 to 10, that the Raptors will be playing in the Eastern Conference Finals? How confident are you that the Raptors will be playing in the Finals? Also, just for shits and giggles, if the Raptors are fortunate enough to make the East Finals and NBA Finals, who do you think will be waiting for them?

Adam Corsair, South of the 6ix

Well, Peter, first off, thank you for inviting me on to do this with you. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off and unpack the playoffs than this email exchange with the Heartbreak Kid himself. It should be one for the ages. Hopefully there will be no Therapy Session (which, by the way, is my favorite episode of the podcast — no bullshit) and instead, a celebration episode in the coming months.
 
On to the topic at hand. Regarding how confident I am that the Raptors will make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, I’d place my meter at a 9. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t drooling over the current Playoff Picture (as of April 8th) with the Raptors slated to take on the Magic for Round 1, and then one of the Sixers or Nets for Round 2. Obviously, things can change, but for now I really like those match-ups for the Raptors. Orlando by no means frightens me and I think that’s an easy sweep for Toronto. Seriously, who are we worried about on the Magic? It’s a nice story that the NBA can push, but in the grand scheme of things, they aren’t a threat, whatsoever. In this Round 2 scenario, the Sixers are physical — no doubt about it — but it’ll inevitably be a 5-on-4 fest with Kawhi making Simmons a complete non-factor. If it were to be the Nets, the Raptors have proven that they have a more robust roster from top to bottom and better overall talent than Brooklyn. With either teams, I can’t see the Raptors going any more than 5 games against. I’ll be generous and say 6, but definitely not 7.

You may be asking yourself why I’m not at a 10 in terms of my confidence given my comments regarding the Raptors advantage over all three of those teams. I suppose it’s because, as a Raptors fan, I’ve been conditioned to be cautious in my approach with the team heading into the playoffs; reminding myself not to let the hubris show. Yes, this is a completely different Raptors squad than that of previous years. Yes, we have a bonafide superstar in Kawhi Leonard to guide us through this playoff journey. And yes, we have the Most Improved Player this season in Pascal Siakam to help propel this team to new heights. However, this sort of confidence is reminiscent of previous years of seeing the Raptors in the playoffs, only to be completely let down with a reality-check. The one thing that I have to remind myself is that there’s no King James to rain on our parade and that this PTSD that we have attained as a result of him flexing on our Raptors is not doomed to resurface.

Ultimately though and contrary to popular belief, I think the team that will be waiting for the Raptors for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown will not be the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Boston Celtics. The Bucks, as well as Mike Budenholzer, don’t have the most reliable track record of playoff performances, despite their outstanding showings this regular season. You can argue that, similar to Toronto, the Bucks have a redefined roster, but I’d counter that point by acknowledging that their key players remain the same. Toronto’s identity is completely different than that of previous years. Moreover, their injury concerns heading into the playoffs put them at a slight disadvantage and I think will cost them a few games in an environment where the margin for error is paper thin. That being said, assuming the Bucks make it out of Round 1 (which, they should) and Boston defeats the Pacers (again, which they should), I think it would be wise to not discount the Celtics and their playoff experience to ultimately take down Giannis and company. This is a team that was one game away from defeating LeBron in last year’s ECF with an incredibly depleted squad. Are we sure that the Celtics are just going to allow the Bucks to steamroll them out of another Eastern Conference Finals appearance? I’m not, and I think the Celtics have the advantage, leading to an entertaining and physical ECF between Boston and Toronto.

This is a series that I think has the potential to go the distance, with Toronto taking the series in 7 because of Kawhi’s superstar talent, as well as home court advantage. It’ll be a frustrating series, no doubt. But ultimately, I think the Raptors have the talent and experience to be able to capitalize on the youth’s inexperience that mostly comprises the current Celtics’ roster.

It’s in writing, Peter; we’re going to the NBA Finals.

As to who will be waiting for the Raptors in the battle for the Larry O’Brien trophy — don’t sleep on OKC. Yes, they have a tough road ahead, currently slated to take on the Rockets. But with Paul George having an outstanding season, coupled with the talents of Adams and Westbrook, they seem more determined and hungry to make the Western side of the playoffs their own. It would not surprise me one bit if they upset some teams along the way and were waiting for Toronto in a fight for immortality.

Peter Kaye, LIR

Damn Adam! You are coming in hot! But you know what? I agree with all of what you said. Mostly all of it. Essentially, we are in agreement that our road to the Eastern Conference Finals comes down to whether or not we can beat the 76ers.

Yes, that’s right — I am skipping immediately ahead to the second round because, honestly, none of our potential first round opponents scare me. Could these lower seeded squads win a game or two against the Raptors? Sure, but it doesn’t mean they can win four of the seven games. Not happening.

The Magic don’t scare me. The Nets don’t scare me. The Pistons don’t scare me even though they swept the regular season series against us (yes, I mean us — we’re part of the team dammit!). Detroit already had their moment this season when Dwane Casey won in Toronto on a buzzer beater. That was their championship. Enjoy!

But let’s talk about the Sixers because, barring an upset on their side of the bracket, that’s who we will be playing in the second round. To me, the 76ers are genuinely the third best team in the conference and there is a world in which they can knock off our beloved Raptors. However, we do have a couple significant factors working in our favour. 

Factor 1: You touched upon it. For some reason, Kawhi Leonard has Ben Simmon’s number. It’s safe to say that Simmons has never been guarded by anyone as menacing as Leonard — who has been the primary defender on Simmons when they have squared off. 

Here are some numbers for you: Simmons averages 8.0 turnovers per game when facing Toronto while Leonard averages 4.0 steals when facing the Sixers. Also, is it just me or does Leonard look like he especially enjoys shutting Simmons down? He has this look in his eyes that says he loves nothing more than erasing Simmons.

Factor 2: We also know that Joel Embiid struggles going up against elite mobile bigs who can pass, shoot, space the floor, play tough post defense, and who can drag him out of the paint (see: Al Horford). Well, Toronto has their version of what Horford brings: Marc Gasol. A fun stat that was making the rounds recently on Twitter, is the defensive impact Gasol has had when squaring off against Embiid. In the five games in which they squared off against one another, Embiid failed to top the 20-point plateau in any of those games. He also had some really horrific shooting performances: 40%, 38.5%, 40%, 26.7%, and 30.8% respectively. 

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But despite all that, the 76ers do give me pause. This is where I think home court advantage will come into play. I, like you, ultimately see the Raptors toppling the Sixers; however, I see them going the 7-game distance.

All of which brings us to the Eastern Conference Finals. I am surprised and also not surprised that you have the Celtics going over the Milwaukee Bucks. Perhaps you have a case of Stockholm Syndrome living in New England? Or perhaps, part of you, wants the thrill of stomping on the Celtics on the way to the Finals? Which I would fully support! 

To answer my own questions: I am 80% confident the Raptors will make the ECF. In terms of the Finals, it’s a coin flip between the Raptors and Bucks. So, I will go with 50% confidence the Raptors will make the Finals. Although 50% isn’t that sexy of a number, it’s still incredible that the Finals is a realistic destination.

I admire your OKC pick as the West winner. I would be delighted if that series would actually happen. There is a part of me that says the Warriors making the Finals is fait accompli; but there is this nagging part of me that says the Warriors, somehow, will not be in the Finals. I can’t explain it. I just have this gut feeling that this will be a Warriors-less June. My head says it will be Houston while my heart says it will be Utah. Either way, how great is it to be even entertaining the notion of a Finals appearance, and dare I say, a championship?


TUESDAY APRIL 9th, 2019

Adam Corsair, SOT6

I agree that the first round of the playoffs may be viewed as more “practice games” for the Raptors. That’s not to say that I think they won’t be taking the round seriously; they will. This is the dance and they know what’s at stake. But, as you touched upon, when you look at the potential opponents that the Raptors would face, it should be an easy avenue to Round 2. As of this writing, it’s still Orlando which — yes, sign me up!

It’s interesting to me that you’re giving the 76ers more credit than I am. I don’t disagree that they’re a talented bunch; they arguably have the best starting 5 in the East (key word: arguably). But given that the Raptors would have home court advantage (as you mentioned) and given that Kawhi basically eliminates Simmons entirely, I’m not sure that they have enough to make it interesting when it counts. The only member of that squad that gives me concern is Harris. Sure, you can throw Butler in the mix as he’s been a notorious Raptor Killer, but I’m not sure that I trust his talents on the big stage. Maybe I’m downplaying them, and this may be the hubris poking through as I mentioned in the previous email. But I think that this is a 6-game series at best. If it goes the distance, I’m not concerned that the Raptors will drop the series, but I am concerned for their hopes in the ECF. A 7 game series can be taxing (just look at our Raptors in the 2016 playoffs),

I’d be lying if I told you that the prospect of me attending a Raptors/Celtics ECF game in Boston didn’t influence my choice. I’d be the guy that essentially takes out a second mortgage to purchase a single ticket to the game (have you seen the prices?!?). But I just trust the Celtics’ veterans in the playoffs and I’m hard pressed to count them out. No pun intended here, but in the playoffs, the Celtics tend to have a four-leaf clover up their ass and they tend to find a way to thrive. I expect this to be no different. Call it the unwanted New England influence forced on me, but I think they have a shot.

I hear you on the Warriors, and I share that sentiment. It seems like there’s this sense of inevitability when it comes to them in the Finals, as they’re almost synonymous with each other. But there’s also this sense that their time is up. I could totally see Houston finding their way in, and Utah would be a pretty nice sleeper team as well. I’m more surprised that no one is trusting that Denver could somehow pull through, but it may be a lack of experience in that regard. I still hold firm on my Thunder pick, though.

Do you get the sense though that we, as Raptors fans, ought to pump the brakes a bit? I don’t know, maybe it’s what I mentioned previously about this sense of PTSD that is now inherent in our fanhood, but there’s this part of me that’s almost anticipating it to fall apart. Do you get that sense? Or are you more confident than ever that this is the year for our Raptors?

Peter Kaye, LIR

Do I think we as Raptors fans should pump the brakes? Absolutely! If being a Raptors fan has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected at the worst possible time. As a recent example, we have the Jeremy Lamb buzzer beater:

This PTSD was not given to us though; we have earned this PTSD through many years of painstaking postseason embarrassment. Sure, the Raptors will now have made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons — but it’s how we bow out each postseason that truly boggles the mind.

In 2015, we got swept by the Wizards despite having home court advantage. In 2016, 2017 & 2018, we experienced LeBronTo and the pain of losing to him in a variety of tormenting ways. It’s not just that we lost these series but rather the manner in which we lost. None of them were heartbreaking down-to-the-wire defeats; they were over-before-they-started defeats that lacked a competitive spirit. 

On top of this, we also have our 2–13 record in Game 1s. We also have our 1–9 record in first round Game 1s (one game winning streak baby!). Then before this recent stretch of success, we only made the playoffs twice in an 11-year span (losing both in the first round). That’s a lot of history, Adam!

I have a modest request: If we are going to lose in the playoffs, can we at least make sure whoever eliminates us has earned it? Our past four playoff exits have been deflating to say the least — they had me starting at my television in disbelief wondering what I have done to deserve this. Can we not lose in a competitive could-have-gone-either-way series? One in which the series went down to the wire and the other team knows they were in a war? Is this too much to ask? Am I being selfish?

Yet despite all the above, it feels like this year is different, no? Or is this fan-insanity? Where we keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Adam Corsair, SOT6

I suppose you’re correct in that these battle wounds that we’ve endured have been earned and made us tougher, yet guarded. In that regard, we wear them with pride but in a way they serve as a reminder to not get too ahead of ourselves.

I’m glad that you brought up the curse of Game 1. Before last year’s Round 1 match-up against Washington, this was a big concern of mine. Moreover, I recall during the 2016 playoffs against Indiana and Miami that Lowry stated that the thing that he learned the most coming out of those two series was to “win Game 1”. It absolutely sets the stage and where the pendulum will swing to kick things off. Yet, having said that, and this may contradict my previous statement regarding Game 1, but I’m truly not going to let this be a concern. Yes, that probably will change if they do in fact drop Game 1 at home (recency bias and all), but I think the Raptors have exorcised that demon well enough for this not to be at the forefront of the first couple of rounds. This does not diminish the importance of winning Game 1 by any means. But it won’t be another mini-war that the Raptors, as a franchise, have to win.

Regarding your request, will we ever really feel that the opposing team that theoretically beats us has truly earned it? I don’t know that I can be convinced that any of the teams that we feel has a legitimate shot at beating the Raptors (the Bucks and/or the Celtics) will truly earn those victories. I say this because the Raptors are walking into Milwaukee or inviting Boston to Toronto as perceived “underdogs” by the Talking Heads out there. There won’t be a moment where the Raptors will get their due, and it’s getting old. Save for a Finals loss against the Warriors, I don’t think I’ll be in a situation where I won’t need another Therapy Session — and that’s only because of our previous statements of them being recently synonymous with the term “NBA Champions”. I’m not sure if this is me being blinded by my fanhood as I sport the Toronto laundry, but I don’t think I’ll ever feel that the opposition earned a win over Toronto in the playoffs. We’ve come too far.

Yes, this year is different because the team — as a whole — as well as the aggressive nature to improve the squad by Bobby Webster (who doesn’t get enough credit) and Masai Ujiri has been a much needed breath of fresh air. We didn’t and won’t achieve 59 wins like last season (side note: barring anything unforeseen, your prediction of 58 wins looks to be spot on!), but I’m not the least bit discouraged or underwhelmed. On the contrary, I’m more confident with 57 (or 58) wins compared to how I was with the Raptors winning 59. I expect Kawhi to show us what it’s like to have a bonafide superstar on this team; something we’ve never seen before. I expect Pascal Siakam to take in these playoffs and truly claim it as his own by showing the entire NBA audience that he has arrived and isn’t going anywhere. I anticipate Kyle Lowry to view this as his best (and perhaps only) shot at winning a championship and doing everything in his power to make that happen. I expect Marc Gasol to view this as perhaps his last opportunity to finally grab what he has been chasing his entire career and give it all that he has left.These factors feel different, and that’s because they are. We haven’t had these types of ingredients in our soup before when it comes to the playoffs, and that’s perhaps the reason why we’re exhibiting this type of confidence.

I just hope that this isn’t part of what also feels like a curse of being a Raptors fan; an inevitability of adding more and more battle wounds to serve as yet another reminder. I hope that this isn’t yet another false sense of confidence that we’re carrying. One that may doom us by once again getting smacked in the face with good ol’ reality, reminding ourselves that we are perpetually in this cycle. The following pun is absolutely intended here, but with respect and admiration my good friend:

I hope we’re not living our collective playoff life in repeat this year.


WEDNESDAY APRIL 10th, 2019

Peter Kaye, LIR

I was at the game when Jeremy Lamb hit that improbable buzzer beater that will be on every Play of the Year countdown. After the shock of the moment was over, my first reaction was “At least that wasn’t Game 7 of the Finals”. You are right, Adam— losing in the playoffs will never be easy. But let’s make sure it’s not as dramatic as the Lamb buzzer beater. I just jinxed it, didn’t I? 

Also, thank you for bringing up my prediction from the beginning of the season. Please permit me a moment to bask in the glory of my 58-win prediction…..alright, I’m good to continue now.

You have articulated perfectly all the reasons why this postseason just feels different. Leonard’s impending free agency has forced the organization into all-in mode; and kudos to Bobby Webster and Masai Ujiri for pushing their chips to the middle of the table.

This team is deep, Adam. Like really deep. Besides all the players you mentioned, we still have VanVleet, Lin, McCaw, Meeks, Powell, OG, Ibaka, and Green. We also both know that Danny Green is going to swing a few playoff games. He’s the ultimate glue guy: you won’t win a title because of him but you can’t win a title without him (Green is going to find himself on an NBA All-Defense team come award season).

Our roster is so talented and so deep that we can play any style. You also know how eagerly I am awaiting Kawhi at Center minutes come postseason time. Nurse has given us that teaser trailer sprinkled throughout the season and I fully expect him to use Leonard at the 5 when the appropriate time comes (and it will be glorious).

I’m glad you brought up Siakam because a lot of attention will be paid to how he performs in the postseason. Will he carry over his strong play into the playoffs? I absolutely think so. Gone is the kryptonite that he is a poor three-point shooter. I dare other teams to let Siakam beat them because you know why? He will beat them! Also, I am thoroughly enjoying the awards buzz Siakam is getting from respected members of the media who vote. He is getting MIP buzz, All-NBA buzz, and All-Defense buzz. I love it! Well earned, Spicy P! The Most Improved Player hardware is a lock; the All-NBA might be wishful thinking this soon; but, I’m starting to think he may garner an All-Defense nod. 

Speaking of Siakam, the dude is due for an extension this summer. Whether he gets an extension this summer, or the following summer in restricted free agency, gone will be the days when he is making less than the veteran’s minimum. Have you thought about Siakam’s next contract? Is it better to extend him this summer or wait until the following summer? Essentially, what I’m really getting at is: what do you think his next contract will look like? I’m very curious to see your response (as a trusted smart mark Raptors contributor) because I have spent far too much time thinking about this.

Adam Corsair, SOT6

That’s an interesting question regarding an extension for Siakam that, I must admit, I haven’t considered yet. There’s no time like the present, I suppose!

I think the priority this off-season is to re-sign Kawhi and offer him that mega contract. I don’t think that, by doing so, they’re disregarding the notion that Siakam deserves a more lucrative deal, but rather they’re prioritizing keeping this train running. That being said, there’s also more of a priority to try to get Danny Green to stick around, as well. I think that, once the 2020 off-season rolls around, they’ll be in a better position — both mentally and financially — to extending Siakam to a — dare I say — max deal? I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility and, in fact, I think he will deserve it at that point, if he doesn’t already. By then, Kyle, Gasol (assuming he picks up his player option next season — which, c’mon, he will) and Serge will be off the books and the Raptors will be in a much more financially stable position to put that money out there. This just seems to make the most sense, for me.

I’m glad you mentioned the depth of this lineup because it showed up last night against Minnesota. Yes, it was the last game of the regular season and, yes, it was against a depleted and embarrassing Timberwolves squad, but it was nice to see the bench and 905 members flexing a bit. Boucher had a more than decent showing — a +16 with 15 points, 2 blocks, 13 boards, in about 24.5 minutes! Not to mention OG showing some signs of life as well. Again, I don’t want to do too much examination based on one game against a pretty bad team, but these are confidence-building moments that will carry over into the playoffs in the (unlikely) event that the Raptors need to deploy these players. It’s just a nice sense of security that we have with these players on the bench. More than likely, players like Boucher, Meeks, Miller, Moreland, and even Lin won’t be getting any significant minutes, if any at all. But it’s good to know that we’re dealing with a very deep and serviceable set of players if something were to happen (or if there’s garbage minutes).

That being said, I’m interested in what you think our playoff rotation will look like. I’m thinking the usual Starting 5 of Lowry, Green, Kawhi, Siakam, and Gasol with Serge, FVV, OG and mmmaaaayyyybbbbeee Norm coming off the bench. I have to admit that I’m still a little uneasy when it comes to using Norman Powell in the playoffs, despite the success he’s had when it mattered in the past. However, as I mentioned in a previous email, the margin for error is super slim, and we just don’t know which Norm we’re going to get. If anything, maybe keep him on a tight leash with a quick trigger if he’s exhibiting his spastic nature that he sometimes does. But even then, I may find myself white-knuckling my couch.

A lot of people don’t trust OG for some reason, but I think that’s largely — if not entirely — due to his many absences this season. This is a guy that, as a rookie, guarded LeBron James in the playoffs last year and did it well. That type of defensive ability and intensity is crucial for success and I think that it will be heavily valued and needed, despite his struggles on offense. That type of defensive presence has the ability to sort of mitigate the lack of offensive consistency, so I’m much more confident deploying OG than say maybe a Norm in certain situations.

Peter Kaye, LIR

You are absolutely right that the offseason priorities are re-signing Leonard and Green since they are unrestricted free agents. But I do think Masai will find a way to get business done early with Siakam as well. Nothing like a freshly signed Siakam to persuade free agents (and Leonard & Green) to make Toronto their home.

When thinking of Siakam’s next contact, is it completely ludicrous to think that some team will offer him the max in restricted free agency? Think about that for a moment. It’s not that crazy is it?

All of which leads me to thinking that Ujiri will try to extend him this summer to a deal that would be a lot of money but still below the maximum money he could command next summer. How does $100 million over four years sound? I think that’s the deal. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Masai found a way to sign him for a slightly less annual average salary. Either way, Siakam will no longer be the overlooked first rounder playing on a bargain basement deal. Instead he will be paid like a superstar with superstar expectations.

In regards to playoff rotations, the starters are pretty much written in ink (Lowry, Green, Leonard, Siakam & Gasol). Our bench rotation should run no more than nine deep (unless, of course, we have a blowout on our hands or Nurse needs to inject life into a game that is going sideways). Ibaka, Steady Freddy, and OG are locks. I do suspect we will see some regular minutes from Norm in the postseason — and frankly he’s earned it. He went from from DeMar DeRozan-lite to completely useless then all the way back to a solid rotation player. Yes, the leash should be short on Powell but I can totally see him winning us a quarter and, conversely, losing us a quarter. Where and when Nurse deploys Powell will definitely be something to keep an eye on.

In terms of those who don’t trust OG, I say treason! Give me their names so I can report them to the Twitter Police! He is already a great defender both on the perimeter and as a small-ball 4 who can bang with the likes of a Blake Griffin and hold his own. There are going to be many All-Defensive accolades on his mantle when all is said and done. I am fully expecting him to leave his mark on the postseason. 

Back at the beginning of this exercise you wrote:

It’s in writing, Peter; we’re going to the NBA Finals.

And you know what? Just having this dialogue with someone as informed as you has made me see the light. I am raising my 5/10 confidence level all the way to 8/10 or dare I say 9/10.

Our team is deep. We have elite defenders across this roster. We just need to go out now and win the games. Also, if the regular season was just practice for Kawhi, then I am ready for some Playoff Kawhi. 

You know what else, Adam? I too am ready for the playoffs! I am ready for the nervous energy, the heightened anticipation, the highs and lows of every single possession, and just the energy and community amongst Raptors fans. Sign me up! I am ready! There is nothing I love more than High Five-ing strangers as we collectively countdown the 16 wins it will take to taste immortality. 

I also hear rumours that you will make your way up to Toronto for a championship celebration. If that isn’t a good enough reason to hope for a Raptors title, then I don’t know what is. Also, I jokingly told my wife that I would buy myself a replica championship ring if the Raptors won the title. I also realized that I’m not joking either.


THURSDAY APRIL 11th, 2019

Adam Corsair, SOT6

Well, Peter, we finally have our answer and I for one, couldn’t be happier. The bracket, as it stands, favors the Raptors as the team with the easiest path to the Eastern Conference Finals. I feel that we received a gift from the Basketball gods with our first round opponent in the Orlando Magic, as this was the team I was least worried about. Had it been the Nets, I was concerned with their determination led by DLo, as well as their offensive intensity. Had it been Detroit, I was concerned with their physicality and the mere presence of Dwane Casey perhaps intimidating Nick Nurse. In the Magic, however, what do we really have to be worried about? Yes, Vučević is very good, but not good enough to contain Gasol. Otherwise, what is threatening? Are we worried about Terrence Ross here? C’mon now.

I also like how there’s a thread of history built into this with longstanding Raptors fans. Let’s not forget that it was the Magic that knocked out the Raptors from Round 1 of the playoffs back in 2008. Sure, this was well before the “We The North” era was established, and perhaps out of the minds of the casual fans, but it’s still a talking point! Given that Game of Thrones is returning this week, let me use this as an opportunity to throw out this pun:

The North remembers. The North always remembers. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this to finally begin, Peter. With the “practice games” out of the way, I’m more than confident that the Raptors can steamroll this Round 1. Whereas, examining the rest of the bracket, the Sixers and Nets has the potential to be a nice yet tiresome 6 game series, giving the Raptors some relief for Round 2 in terms of being fresh. Also, remember that physicality that I mentioned that the Pistons possess? I have no doubt that they’re going to make it tough on the Bucks. By no means do I see Milwaukee taking that easily in 4. Boston and Indiana? Sure, whatever. Most boring Round 1 playoff series on the Eastern side if you ask me.

But regardless, it’s finally here! I’m anxious to see where this takes us. Hopefully it’s a journey all the way to the NBA Finals with the result being twofold:

1) The Raptors finally achieve immortality.

2) I get my ass up to Toronto and celebrate with you guys!

Let’s get it!

Peter Kaye, LIR

The playoffs are officially here and I couldn’t be happier. I am not sweating the Magic at all for all the reasons you listed above. This should be a series we take in a gentlemen’s sweep. There is no one on their roster that concerns me. Also, damn right — let’s get revenge for 2008!

To bring this conversation to a close, I want to thank you, Adam, for having this dialogue with me leading up to the postseason — and for being the first guest writer on the maiden voyage of the Life In Repeat Versus series. Let’s go Raptors! And here’s to hoping we will see you in Toronto come June! 

Now hit my music!


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