SOT6 Podcast - Episode 124

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 124

"POETRY"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • My god. It couldn’t have been scripted any better. In a sequence that was 18 years in the making, it was simply poetic justice for the Toronto Raptors. A back and forth contest between the Raptors and the 76ers kept fans of both teams in suspense in what could possibly be the greatest game in Toronto Raptors’ history. This is why Masai made the trade for Kawhi Leonard in July of 2018. This is why you trade away the franchise player in DeMar DeRozan; for moments like this. Just incredible.

  • To break down the entire game and previewing the Eastern Conference Finals, host Adam Corsair is joined by the Icon… the Showstopper… the Main Event… the Entertaining & Sexy - Mr. Peter “HB” Kaye of Life in Repeat. Peter and Adam take a deep dive into what’s been on the mind’s of Raptors fans, such as:

    • The Moment

    • Serge Arrived

    • Gen. Lowry

    • ECF

    • Predictions

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Peter on Twitter: @lifeinrepeat

Visit Peter’s Work HERE

Music:
Drake Stafford - “Casets”
Jim Johnston - “Sexy Boy”

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 123

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 123

"Déjà Vu"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • So it’s come down to this. Once again, the Raptors find themselves in a do-or-die position with their backs against the wall, coming back to Toronto for Game 7 against the 76ers. Much like the 2001 Playoff series, the two teams will battle it out for the right to face the Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Unlike 2001, though, the Raptors will have home-court advantage for Game 7.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Hunter Surphlis of Take 6ix and the Take 6ix Podcast. Hunter and Adam break down Game 6 and preview Game 7, touching on topics such as:

- Sixers Slap
- No Intensity
- 2001
- Consequences
- Predictions

It's a Raptors podcast that you won't want to miss!

Follow Hunter Surphlis on Twitter: @H_Surphlis

Follow the Take 6ix Podcast: @take_6ix

Subscribe to the Take 6ix Podcast HERE

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

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 122

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 122

"TEAM WIN"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • With Round 2 being knotted at 2 games a piece, the Toronto Raptors headed back home to take on the 76ers in a game that would be crucial to maintain home court advantage. With Kawhi’s stellar performance in Game 4, we expected him to continue his dominance and carry this team to victory once again. We were wrong.

  • Yes, the Raptors were able to be victorious, but it was the effort from every member of the roster to achieve the victory. Lowry, Green, Siakam, and Gasol were able to do their part and ease the tension off of Kawhi to grab this win. Even Serge and VanVleet has great performances and contributed to what was perhaps the most complete and team oriented win that this Raptors team has had since the trade deadline. It was truly wonderful.

  • To recap Game 5 and preview Game 6, host Adam Corsair is joined by Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views and the TSV Podcast. Connor and Adam get into detail as to what they saw in Game 5, such as:

    • Team Effort

    • Nurse’s Adjustments

    • Breakouts

    • Sixers Folding

    • Predictions

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorchambers
Follow Toronto Sports Views on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews
Visit Connor's work: HERE
Subscribe to the TSV Podcast HERE

Music:
Drake Stafford - “Casets”
Auxl Studio - “Blue Bloods”


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 121

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 121

"MJ-ESQ"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • With their backs up against the wall, the Toronto Raptors went into Philly under the pressure of a “must-win” mentality being down 2-1 in the 2nd Round of the Playoffs against the 76ers. To make matters worse, the Raptors were unsure of the availability of Pascal Siakam, who was reportedly battling a right calf contusion Friday & Saturday, being listed as “doubtful.” He was upgraded to “questionable” come Sunday afternoon and was able to play. However, the real story is the performance that Kawhi Leonard put on, leading the Raptors to victory on the road, reclaiming home-court advantage, knotting the series up 2-2 heading back to Toronto.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Jordan Kligman of the 416 Basketball Podcast and writer for Hash Tag Basketball. Jordan and Adam get into the details regarding Game 4 as well as their expectations for the remainder of Round 2.

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @416Basketball

Subscribe to the 416 Basketball Podcast on iTunes: HERE

Visit Jordan's work: HERE

Music:
Freebeats - “Street Code”
Drake Stafford - “Casets
Auxl Studios - “Blue Bloods

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 120

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 120

"ADJUST"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • After dropping Game 2 on their home court, the Raptors traveled to Philly to try to steal one and take a series lead over the Sixers in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs. Needless to say, the vast majority of the Raptors squad didn’t show up and ended up coughing Game 3 up, putting them in a must-win situation heading into Game 4. What needs to be done for the Raptors to reestablish momentum and but an end to this series in order to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals?

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Richard Birfer of the BallnRoll.com official Podcast, Pick-N-Pod. Richard and Adam get into detail regarding Game 3 with topics that include:

- Nurse’s Decisions
- Bench Woes
- Setting Tones
- Positives
- Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardbirfs
Follow Pick-n-Pod on Twitter: @pick_pod
Follow BallnRoll on Twitter: @BALLnROLL
Subscribe to the Pick-N-Pod Podcast HERE
Visit BallnRoll HERE

Music:
FreeBeats- "Won’t Stop"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair

#SOT6


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


Raptors' Backs Are Against The Wall

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


Before I say anything, I just want to preface that I know the series isn’t over yet. The Raptors could very well win on Sunday and go back to Toronto tied 2-2. However, with the way most of the team is playing right now, that looks unlikely. The Raptors got blown out Thursday night in Game 3, but my main point of frustration comes at the fact that they lost game 2 at home. They had all of the momentum going in, Embiid had “the shits” as he said, and other than Jimmy Butler, most of Philly’s best players had quiet nights.

But the Raptors lost that game, and in doing so they blew a big opportunity to take a stranglehold on the series. They then went into Philadelphia and laid a massive egg. Kawhi Leonard was incredible Thursday, as usual per usual. But also per usual, no one else showed up to help him. Siakam was alright, and Danny Green was a bit better, but Lowry and Gasol were both complete no-shows; and that’s just the starters! The bench was awful again, especially Fred VanVleet, who once again looked lost out there (the bench scored 15 points tonight, which was actually a huge improvement from game 2).

Speaking of Lowry though, he had another brutal shooting game Thursday (2/10 from the field, 0/4 from 3) and I’m pretty much done defending him. I love Kyle Lowry, and he’s one of my favourite Raptors ever. He’s been such a driving force of the last 6 years, and the Raptors don’t make any of this happen without him. However, there comes a point when you just need more from your $30 million point guard. Him consistently putting up poor playoff performances gets forgiven by a lot of Raptors fans because of his “intangibles.” Yes, Lowry does a lot of great things for the team. He takes a ton of charges, is a great passer, and can make some pretty gutsy plays. But you don’t pay $30 million for intangibles; you pay $30 million for someone that can actually score every once in a while.

It’s so frustrating to watch Kawhi continue to carry this team so much because it shows how much they’re wasting his efforts. We could potentially be watching the end of Kawhi’s tenure in Toronto, and with the way his teammates are playing, can anyone really blame him if he wants to leave? Almost every possession that the Raptors score involves him making some ridiculous shot, and the ones where the Raptors don’t score either involve a forced shot or a missed open shot from a teammate. Kawhi has put forth some super-human efforts in this series, and yet the Raptors only have 1 win.

Another frustrating part of this series has been Nick Nurse getting thoroughly out-coached by Brett Brown - of all people. I understand Nurse is a rookie head coach, but this is a team in win-now mode, and he knew what he was signing up for. The fact that he’s still tinkering with rotations right now is crazy, considering he’s had 82 games to figure that out. Also, why has Jodie Meeks seen any playing time in this series?

Another thing on Nurse - and this might be the most frustrating thing for me - is how much he seems to trust the bench unit. Obviously the starters can’t play the entire game, but Nurse has to do a better job of resting guys at appropriate times. For example, the Raptors made a run at the end of the 3rd quarter to cut the 76ers’ lead to 8. That run was lead by - guess who - Kawhi Leonard. He was making plays on both ends of the court and carrying the team as per usual. So obviously the Raptors kept in there to start the 4th, right?

Wrong.

Nurse put the bench in and Philly ran away with the game. By the time Kawhi came back into the game it was too late. I was fine with the whole load management thing in the regular season because it meant that Kawhi would be ready to play more in the playoffs, and play at a high level. And he’s playing at a world-class level right now, but he’s not being played enough in my opinion. The Raptors may only have this guy for a few more games, so why not use him to the max?

I think my main point of frustration is that it’s happening again. We convinced ourselves that this year would be different (for like the 5th time) and it’s happening again. I’ll always be a Raptors fan through thick and thin, but this may be the best chance we’ve ever had to watch them play in the Finals, and they’re currently blowing it to a team that gives Greg Monroe meaningful minutes.

I haven’t given up on this series, and I hope other fans don’t either. But the way the last 2 games have gone, I’m beginning to question this team’s mental toughness (minus Kawhi).

Just win on Sunday guys.


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 118

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 118

"PERSPECTIVES"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • After an outstanding 45 point performance from Kawhi to help the Raptors beat the Sixers in Game 1 convincingly, it’d be safe to say that confidence was riding high among fans. To boost that confidence, it would be criminal if we didn’t also mention Pascal Siakam’s performance as well, combing with Kawhi for a total of 74 points. Couple that with Gasol’s defensive performance to limit Embiid, it proved to be a great formula for success.

  • However, that confidence was held in check after Game 2 with some great adjustments by Brett Brown and the 76ers. With Simmons doing a good job at staying glued to Kawhi for 44½ minutes, as well as Embiid primarily guarding Siakam and Jimmy Butler having a great shooting performance, the Sixers responded in a big way, evening the series at 1 game a piece. Should Raptors fans be worried? What are Sixers fans saying about the series now?

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Darryl Reynolds - host of Stay Tuned with D.Rey and Here They Come - a 76ers Podcast on the BLeav Network. D.Rey and Adam touch on a bunch of Round 2 related topics, such as:

- Coaching Adjustments
- Rotations
- Simmons/Kawhi
- Priority Players
- Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Darryl on Twitter: @dreythedirector
Listen to HERE THEY COME on the BLeav Network: HERE
Subscribe to Stay Tuned with D.Rey HERE

Music:
Yung Kartz - “Hold Up
Auxl Studios - “Blue Bloods

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 117

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 117

"2ND ROUND PREVIEW"

TORONTO RAPTORS talk

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • On the heels of the Raptors completing a Reverse Gentlemen’s Sweep, the Toronto Raptors now set their sights on Round 2 in a best of 7 match-up against the Philadelphia 76ers. With home court advantage on their side, this will be a true test for the Raptors as well as a good sense of preparation in the event that they move on to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, how confident are we that the Raptors can get that far? With arguably the best starting lineup in the entire NBA, the Sixers pose as a legitimate threat to the Raptors and their quest to the Finals.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Lior Kozai of Def Pen Hoops. Lior and Adam touch on a bunch of Raptors and NBA related topics, such as:

- The Starting Fives
- Biggest Threats
- Managing Rotations
- What if….
- Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Lior on Twitter: @Lior_Kz

Visit Lior's Work: HERE

Music:
Audiobinger - “Pregame Warmups
Drake Stafford - “Casets
Auxl Studios - “Blue Bloods

Written, Produced, & Edited: Adam Corsair


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 115

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 115

"SO SPICY"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • After suffering a terrible Game 1 against the Orlando Magic in Toronto to start Round 1 of the Playoffs, the Raptors responded with force by taking Game 2 easily and with a lot of sizzle. Hitting the road for the first game in Orlando, the fanbase for the Raptors were confident that they could take it on the Magic’s home court. Although Kawhi Leonard may have had his worst game in a Raptors’ uniform, the Raptors were able to walk away victoriously - shifting the power balance back in their hands with a series lead of 2-1.

  • What stuck out the most in Game 3 was how brilliant Pascal Siakam was and how he’s truly making this playoff series his own. He’s blossoming right in front of the fanbase’s eyes and we ought to consider ourselves lucky that we have a superstar in the making, if he’s not already there (hint: we think he is). Couple that with a a bounce-back performance by Lowry in Game 2, as well as a solid performance in Game 3, there ought to be no doubt in our minds that the Raptors will inevitably be victorious in this series.

  • To break down these past two games, host Adam Corsair is joined by the Icon… the Showstopper… the Main Event… the Entertaining & Sexy - Mr. Peter “HB” Kaye of Life in Repeat. Peter and Adam take a deep dive into what’s been on the mind’s of Raptors fans, such as:

    • Pascal Siakam’s Brilliance

    • Kawhi’s Off Night

    • Lowry’s Bounce-Back

    • Round 1 & 2 Predictions

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Peter on Twitter: @lifeinrepeat

Visit Peter’s Work HERE

Music:
Drake Stafford - “Casets”
Jim Johnston - “Sexy Boy”


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 113

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 113

"POST SEASON ROUND TABLE"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk!

  • So here we go! The Toronto Raptors have concluded their 82 Practice Games and are headed to Round 1 of the Playoffs to take on the Orlando Magic. It came down to the wire as it was a toss-up as to how the Raptors would be hosting, with the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons also in the fold. In the end, the Basketball gods gave the Raptors a gift . Or so we thought… maybe.

  • After the Raptors lost Game 1 at home to the Magic, it’s predictable for the fanbase to feel uneasy, as well as distraught. History has shown that the Raptors have a difficult time capitalizing in Game 1 of the playoffs, and this is no different. Couple that with a goose-egg from our All-Star point guard, it’s understandable for there to be some bad vibes among the fanbase. But we’re here to ease your worries.

  • To break down the 1st Round of the Playoffs for the Raptors, we are pleased to give you another ROUND TABLE discussion. Join host Adam Corsair with the usual suspects in Jordan Kligman of the 416 Basketball Podcast, Demar Grant, and Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views and the TSV Podcast as they break it all down.

It’s a Raptors podcast that you won’t want to miss!

Follow Jordan on Twitter: @416Basketball

Subscribe to the 416 Basketball Podcast on iTunes: HERE

Visit Jordan's work: HERE

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers

Visit Connor's work: HERE

Follow Demar on Twitter: @DemarJGrant 

Visit Demar's work: HERE

Music:
Arthas - “Game of Thrones Instrumental”


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


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!


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


Raptors Playoff Preview

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Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


After another long yet successful season for the Toronto Raptors, last night it was finally made official as to whom they would square off against in the first round of the NBA Playoffs: the Orlando Magic.

Just a week ago, many people were looking at possible opponents for the Raptors in the first round which included the Brooklyn Nets and Detroit Pistons. That was until the Magic made a late run for the post-season. From sitting in 10th place and fighting for their playoff lives, to winning eight of their last ten games to grab the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic have squared off four times this season and split the season series at two-games apiece. The first match-up of the season came early on in which Toronto saw an 18-point lead evaporate, leading to a buzzer beating shot courtesy of Danny Green to win the game for Toronto. The second meeting came nearly a month later and saw Toronto without their star point guard, Kyle Lowry, coupled with a poor outing from Pascal Siakam who only putting up four points and four rebounds. This resulted in a 19-point blowout from the hands of the Magic.

Although, those games were prior to the trade deadline, these two teams clashed once in February. Once again, the Raptors were not at full strength, this time being without Kawhi Leonard which deemed to be a huge loss. Toronto got off to a poor start, only putting up 15 points in the first quarter. The big difference maker in that game was the offensive rebounding that Toronto allowed, giving Orlando second-chance points and easy scores which resulted in Toronto taking another defeat from the Magic by 15 on their home floor.

The final meeting between Toronto and Orlando came less than two weeks ago on April 1st. This final game between the two had zero injuries and saw both teams with a full 15-man roster. Pascal Siakam, who has had an impressive season and has made a ton of noise surrounding the Most Improved Player of the Year award, didn’t have the best performance once again. Although, this is a good thing; it’s something that happens to a player when you make a ton of noise around the league regarding your high level of play throughout the season. Teams start to take you more seriously and try to change up your game. That’s what Orlando did, but yet they didn’t account for all the other powerful and versatile players in the Raptors’ lineup. This included Danny Green, who shot the lights out, going 7-of-10 from beyond the arc putting up 29 points in a 12-point win for Toronto at home.

In three of the four meetings between these two teams, the winning team has won by 12 or more points. This also could have been the case in the first meeting when Toronto was up 18, but was denied a blowout win and instead had to win it at the buzzer.

Now, it may be easy to say that Toronto could easily sweep this series against Orlando - which is a valid prediction. But this is a young Magic team that hasn’t made the post-season since 2012 and is excited to show the world what they are all about. This team may be inexperienced in the post-season but inexperience also means they have nothing to lose. Having just 75 games combined between the Magic roster currently in post-season games played, the Raptors have a total of 502 games played in the post-season. Although, alongside with the young star power of Jonathan Isaac, the athleticism of Aaron Gordan, and big body of Nikola Vučević down low. Coming off the bench will be former Raptor Terrance Ross, who scored 35 points in the season finale Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets in 30 minutes. After that game, Ross was asked how he feels about facing his former team in the first round, to which he replied “It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fun, I’m excited,”

As the final regular season games came to an end Wednesday night, the NBA kept fans waiting as to when the full schedule for every first round series would be released. Until around 1 a.m. eastern time, the full schedule was finally released:

Game 1: Saturday, April 13th in Toronto @ 5 p.m. on ESPN

Game 2: Tuesday, April 16th in Toronto @ 8 p.m. on TNT

Game 3: Friday, April 19th in Orlando @ 7 p.m. on ESPN

Game 4: Sunday, April 21st in Orlando @ 7 p.m. on TNT

Game 5 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 23rd in Toronto – TBD

Game 6 (if necessary): Thursday, April 25th in Orlando – TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): Saturday, April 27th in Toronto – TBD

Not looking too far ahead, but the winner of Toronto-Orlando gets the winner of Philadelphia-Brooklyn in the second round.

Practice is over. The real games start on Saturday. Are you ready, Toronto?


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 111

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Follow host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 111

"BOOK END"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors talk!

  • The Raptors have solidified themselves as the Number 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. With a victory over the Heat, they have made it so it is impossible for them to face Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons for Round 1 of the Playoffs. That being said, there’s still the question of whether or not they will finish with the second best record in the NBA and who they will eventually face for the first round of the playoffs. It’s been a long and winding road for this team, and with only one game remaining, it is clear that this is - without a shadow of a doubt - the absolute best season we as Raptors fans have ever witnessed.

  • Joining host Adam Corsair is guest Jay Rosales of Raptors HQ and co-host of the That's A Rap Podcast. Jay and Adam unpack the week that was as well as other topics related to the regular season, such as:

    - A Look Back at the Regular Season
    - Ka-Why Bracket
    - Playoff Picture
    - Raptors MVP
    - Too Sweet Moment of the Season🤘
    - Predictions

It's a Raptors focused podcast that you WON'T want to miss!

Follow Jay Rosales on Twitter: @Rosalesaurus

Visit Jay’s work HERE

Subscribe to the That's A Rap Podcast HERE

Music:

Drake Stafford - "Casets"

Auxl Audio - "Blue Bloods"


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 109

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 109

"SEEDING"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • The Raptors have approached the final stretch of the regular season, with the last remaining games looking to be favorable ones. With a shocking loss against the Hornets at home, the Raptors responded by easily defeating the Bulls twice along with the Knicks in between. However, the chances of them catching up to the Bucks for the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference is all but impossible at this point, leaving them to set their sights on who the 7th seed will be for Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Hunter Surphlis of Take 6ix and the Take 6ix Podcast. Hunter and Adam break down the week that was and hit on topics such as:

- Playoff Picture
- Norm’s Resurgence
- Jeremy Lin’s Struggles
- MIP Debate
- Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘
- Predictions

It's a Raptors podcast that you won't want to miss!

Follow Hunter Surphlis on Twitter: @H_Surphlis

Follow the Take 6ix Podcast: @take_6ix

Subscribe to the Take 6ix Podcast HERE

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


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


Raptors: Playing with Fire at Centre

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Article Written by Ryan Grosman (@RyanGrosman)


Have you ever heard the phrase, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”?

Well, it also applies to the NBA. 

One misstep. One sudden change in direction, one bad landing, in a split second, a team’s entire season can be altered. Just ask Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers.

Or one minute your all-star point guard is back in the lineup, just in time to establish some much-needed on-court team chemistry before the playoffs. The next minute an awkward, out of control 7-footer decides to use him to break his fall and he’s back on the DL. 

Now, it could’ve been a lot worse. Like season ending worse. But that’s how quickly things can turn in the NBA or any sport, for that matter.

Before Kyle Lowry returned to action vs. the Hornets, Fred VanVleet stepped up big time in his absence, with Jeremy Lin taking up the backup role. That’s why having depth is so important. You may not need it in the playoffs when rotations tend to shrink. But it’s an important safety-net in case everything goes to hell in an NBA basket.

Which leads us to the Raptors’ centre situation. 

Long before Serge Ibaka decided to throw his annual haymakers, this time resulting in a 3-game suspension, I had some major concerns about the Raptors’ depth at the 5. Nick Nurse and the team managed to scrape by while Ibaka was serving his suspension (and apparently serving Kawhi Leonard food). But it was far from ideal. 

What if, knock on hardwood, one or both of Ibaka and Marc Gasol succumb to injury? Or if they play the 76ers and Embiid gets them into foul trouble? What then?

Ever since Greg Monroe was ousted from the break-in-case-of-fire-last-resort centre spot, the Raptors have yet to replace him. After Ibaka and Gasol, the centre options get extremely thin – quite literally. Their current third-string option is the lanky Chris Boucher. If Andrew Wiggins is (or was) Maple Jordan, Boucher is the Maple Tree Branch. He’s that skinny. And despite Boucher’s 3-point celebration game being NBA ready, he clearly needs a lot more seasoning. And bulk. 

After Boucher, the thinness continues with Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. However, employing either one at the centre spot would be strictly matchup dependent. If, for example, the Bucks play Giannis at the 5 for stretches of the game, then you can deploy Siakam or OG at centre. Otherwise, at 6’9” and 6’8” respectively, they’re too undersized and can’t rebound well enough to leave them at the 5 spot for too long. 

Finally, there’s new 10-dayer, Eric Moreland. In limited minutes, he’s shown some good signs, aggressively going after rebounds and often winning the battle. But not only is he undersized, he also has no playoff experience. Actually, he doesn’t have much experience at all. In 5 seasons, he’s appeared in just 82 games, only once averaging more than 10 mins/game. So, if suddenly thrusted into the backup centre role in the playoffs, can you really trust him?

Sorry. Eric Moreland is not the answer. 

So then who is?

Glad you asked. The answer is likely somewhere deep in the heart of Poland right now, just twiddling his thumbs ever since the Clippers bought him out. 

That’s right. The Raptors should sign the Polish Hammer himself, Marcin Gortat. 

You’re probably laughing right now. But why not? Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster could scour the G-League and the universe, looking for an experienced, big bruiser like Gortat. Or they could just sign Gortat. He’s actually perfect for what the Raptors need. Here’s why. 

He’s Been to the Dance Before

Gortat has been around a long time — 13 seasons to be exact. And in that time, he’s been a starter for several playoff teams. One of those teams happens to be the 2014-2015 Wizards, who quite easily swept the Raptors out of the playoffs. Between the Wizards and Magic, Gortat has appeared in 86 playoff games over 7 seasons, averaging almost 21 mins/game.

In other words, he’s no stranger to the playoffs. If he has to, he can absorb a lot of minutes without being phased by the bright lights.

He Fits Like a Polish Glove

If the worst-case scenario happens and they need a backup centre in the playoffs, Gortat can easily fit into the Raptors lineup, plug and play style. He’s not the type of player who needs plays called for him. Nor does he need the ball to be effective. You just need him to be big. You know, rebound. Get the occasional put-back. Set screens. Show some interior toughness. Defend the rim. That sort of thing.

Speaking of Setting Screens...

Gortat happens to be one of the best screen setters in the league. The dude is super crafty. I don’t know if he has damning evidence on every ref in the league, but he somehow gets away with a moving screen on practically every play. 

It’s annoying as fuck. But not if he’s on your team. 

He Hunts Boards

As I mentioned before, you don’t need Gortat to score. You just need him to be big.That includes getting rebounds. And Gortat happens to good at cleaning the glass. For his career, he’s averaged almost 8 rebounds/game, 5.8 of which are defensive rebounds – an area the Raptors have struggled with all season.

He’s Called The Polish Hammer For a Reason

Gortat is a big man. And if thrust into the Raptors’ playoff rotation, he can provide the interior toughness that the team sorely needs. All season, the Raptors have had trouble with bigger, more physical teams like the Pistons – a potential first round opponent.

The Pistons feature Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond in their frontcourt, which makes life really difficult for the Raptors and the slender Siakam. In their 3 regular season matchups (all losses, of course), Griffin overpowered Siakam while routinely getting him into early foul trouble.  

In theory, if Gortat was on the roster, you could start both Ibaka and Gasol vs. the Pistons and bring Gortat and Siakam off of the bench. This provides some matchup flexibility, specifically against the bigger, tougher teams.

In the end, the Raptors may never actually need a fail-safe third-string centre in the playoffs. And here’s hoping they don’t. But if something does go wrong and the sky starts to fall, wouldn’t you want a viable option like Gortat on the bench?

The answer is tak. That’s yes in Polish.


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The Raptors Winning Formula

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Article Written by Rodrigo Albizurez (@rodzyalbizurez)


There are 8 games left in the regular season for the Toronto Raptors to figure out their true potential and to take the next step. Can they realistically take the next step and find the next gear in 8 games? This is the point where you start contemplating if they can or not and spiral into Raptor conspiracy theories on why they won’t. Raptors fans are so fragile like that but lucky for you, I’m going to keep it real like Dallas Green and play the grand optimist role. There’s enough negativity in the world, so here’s some reasons to why they will figure out.

First, the Raptors have already figured out the winning formula but implementing that formula every game is the issue. Their main problem is that the Raptors haven’t had a healthy roster all year and that’s taken a toll on their coaching staff due to the fact their rotations have been all over the place. Steddy Freddy has been out for a fair share of games all year and same with both Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard. Those 3 guys are your main dudes that keep the boat afloat. Imagine losing your head chef, sous chef and your dishwasher for 2 nights of the week and expecting to keep the restaurant afloat; it’s probably not happening. Yes, I threw in the dishwasher because that role is important for the entire restaurant. Without the dishwasher, you’re eating off paper plates or napkins!

Now, for the Raptors, they have had other guys step up like the Most Improved Player front runner, Pascal Siakam and the 3-point assassin, Danny Green. These guys have been in the lineup all year long and they’re in line to get the bag in the offseason. Without these guys, the Raptors would be a 4th or 5th seed in the East right. Now that Kyle Lowry has returned to the lineup, the Raptors will be at full strength barring any unfortunate injuries in the last couple weeks of the season. With a healthy roster comes great responsibility but endless power (Spider-Man quotes rule).

But in all seriousness, the Raptors at full strength is one of the key ingredients to their winning formula because everyone brings something different to the table offensively and defensively that can only impact their chances at winning games in the playoffs. If the Raptors can stay healthy during the final 8 games of the season, they will finally be able to fully develop what every couple in their first few dates - and more importantly an NBA team - needs to compete for a championship, chemistry. Don’t get it twisted, they already have chemistry because I’ve never seen Kawhi smile so much. But with their full roster intact, they will be able to figure out the little things that will keep the drive alive during the grueling playoff season. Another great man also said, “with more chemistry, comes less turnovers.” Alright so no one said that, but I just did. With that being said, reducing turnovers is the next ingredient in the winning formula, and for this particular situation, less is better for the Raptors.

Turnovers are an awful part of the game of basketball but a great option at McDonald’s. You can never go wrong with an apple turnover with a classic black coffee, but we can all go without a careless Raptors turnover. Turnovers are apart of the game and they always will be, but the Raptors need to minimize them if they want to contend for a title. If you have been watching the Raptors play the past couple weeks, you have seen a rise in turnovers;careless ones especially. Most of them come after a great defensive possession in which they turn the opposing team over, but only to give them the ball back within 10 seconds! The Raptors could have blown the game wide open with all these opportunities, but they keep giving teams opportunities to get back into the game with all these gruesome turnovers.

During the two games against the Thunder, the Raptors turned the ball over way too many times and almost coughed up a game in OKC when they were up 19 in the 4th quarter. They lost their second matchup to OKC because of turnovers and their lack of trust in each other. The Raptors are at their best when they are swinging the ball and finding open shooters. When they have a high turnover rate, especially in the first half, the lack of trust in each other dwindles and they refer to iso ball in the 2nd half. That’s my opinion on why the Raptors are so iso heavy in the 2nd half of most games during this 2 week stretch. If they can limit the turnovers, they can continue to trust in each other that the person will find them in their ideal spot without having to force passes and commit turnovers. Like I said in the above paragraph, a lot of these turnovers have to do with team chemistry and having inconsistent lineups. Once fully healthy, we should see the Raptors at full form and committing less turnovers because players will know who they can expect on the court at all times and in certain situations.

You are still going to see some iso ball because Kawhi is pretty dominant in those situations, but you’ll continue to see him kick it out when he gets double or triple teamed. If you look at this season, the Raptors have turned the ball over at a high rate all year, but again that’s due to inconsistent lineups. Some turnovers are just dumb, but that’s just a part of the game. Mental errors are always in play, because no one is perfect. The Raptors don’t have to be perfect in regard to turnovers, but they have to be better than the opposing team.

These last 8 games are super important for the Raptors to gain the chemistry they need to take the next step. A healthy roster and less turnovers will give the Raptors the opportunity to compete for the NBA Championship. These last 8 games and the playoffs are their canvas and whether they come out with a finger or Picasso type painting is completely up to them.


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 106

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 106

"STONE COLD"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • The Raptors put on an outstanding display in Oklahoma City this week; winning a nail-biter in overtime with strong performances from both Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam. Even with a loss against the same Thunder squad on Friday, confidence in the Raptors heading into the final stretch of the regular season is starting to solidify going into the playoffs. However, with Kyle Lowry now dealing with a right ankle sprain, the Raptors have to now prioritize the health of the mainstays. Their performance in the playoffs will be extremely important, so resting within the final 9 games of the season may be key.

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Jay Leung of the That’s A Rap Podcast. Jay and Adam break down the week that was and hit on topics such as:

- How Hungry Are You? Red Herring
- Kyle Lowry’s Injury Concern
- Bucks’ Injury Concern(s)
- Playoff Picture
- Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘
- Predictions

It's a Raptors podcast that you won't want to miss!

Follow Jay Leung on Twitter: @JayLeung20

Follow the That’s A Rap Podcast: @ThatsARapPod

Subscribe to the That’s A Rap Podcast HERE

Music:
Audiobinger - “The Darkside”
Jim Johnston -I Won’t Do What You Tell Me”
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


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


Possible First Round Opponents for the Toronto Raptors

Article Written by Jacob Pacheco (@JacobPacheco6)


As of today, and as you are reading this, the Toronto Raptors currently sit three games back of the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference. Whether the Raptors finish first or second in the Conference with a dozen games remaining in the regular season. Here, we take a look at who the Raptors could possibly see in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

If the Playoffs started today, the Raptors would face off against Atlantic Division rivals - the Brooklyn Nets - in the first round. Toronto currently leads the season series against Brooklyn 2-1 with one more game to be played between the two on April 3rd in Brooklyn. The only loss against Brooklyn this season thus far came back on the 18th of December where Toronto lost a thriller in overtime, 106-105. But, that was prior to the trade deadline. Two teams now have some sort of change regarding their lineups. The second meeting was all Toronto and the third meeting was another heavily contested match-up where Toronto pulled away with the victory. If these two teams were to meet in the first round, by all means, Brooklyn is no team to take lightly. But their lack of playoff experience and talent in mid-April might not be enough to get the job done. Thus, it is also safe to say Toronto has had the slight edge over the Nets.

Another possible opponent could be the Detroit Pistons who – let’s just say - the Raptors have had problems with this season. Now, keep in mind. all three meetings between these two teams,Toronto has not had a full and healthy roster. In the first game back in November, where we saw the return of Dwane Casey to Toronto, the Raptors were without Serge Ibaka and were playing Greg Monroe with heavy minutes. Detroit ended up winning that game at the buzzer with a tip-in courtesy of Reggie Bullock, who was traded to the Lakers. In game two just a few weeks ago, Toronto was without Kawhi Leonard and lost in overtime 112-107. In game three on Sunday, the Raptors were without both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka and lost 110-107. Toronto have lost all three meetings by a combined seven points and all without their stars. Now, some may say the playoffs are a different animal, and they’re right. But these three wins and with Dwane Casey being on the other side of that coaching box, you can’t help but think this Pistons team would be a confident bunch if they got matched up with Toronto in the first round and pulled off the major upset.

A third and possible opponent could very well be the Miami Heat, which believe it or not, the Raptors are currently up 3-0 in the season series with one more game to play between them on April 7th. The first meeting of the season came early on in the year where Toronto was a league’s best 17-4. This game saw Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard put up a combined 60 points. The second meeting was a lot closer and was decided by inches where the Heat missed two tip-in efforts to try and send the game into overtime. The third meeting was a 21-point blowout by Toronto away from Scotiabank Arena. With one more meeting to go this season, Toronto could sweep Miami in the season and go 4-0 against them, which could possibly play out to be the best possible match-up for Toronto come Playoff time.

Other possibilities that Toronto could see in the first round are the Orlando Magic or Charlotte Hornets; two teams that currently sit outside of a playoff spot and would need to go on a bit of a winning streak to make the playoffs. Anything it is possible.

It is easy to get caught up in what could be for Toronto in future rounds of the playoffs, but the first round isn’t easy by any means. Brooklyn, Detroit and Miami will give Toronto and possibly even Milwaukee some bumps in the road in a grueling seven-game series. The bench and three-point shooting for Toronto has had their massive amounts of struggles throughout the season, costing them close games where a few points from a player or where a few three-pointers could have been the deciding factor. But this Raptors team have also proved that they can win in cases where the bench doesn’t produce or that three-ball isn’t connecting, and that is scary.

Yes, the playoffs are a different beast awaiting to be slain by whichever team brings it the absolute most. Just as Kawhi Leonard put it, “There’s 82 games and for me they are just practice and playoffs is when it is time to lace them up.” But for underdog teams like the Nets, Pistons and Heat, those regular season stats matter and that is what they are going to feed off of come playoff time. I am sure there is nothing to worry about as Toronto has proved that they are a powerhouse team and everyone on the roster is finally starting to look healthy again. They can be really dangerous when everything clicks as a unit.

Toronto has 12 games remaining in the season as the 2019 NBA Playoffs tip-off on April 13th.

Who do you want to see Toronto face in the first-round of the Playoffs?


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 104

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 104

"PRACTICE GAMES"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • After struggling against the Cleveland Cavaliers where Raptors’ center, Serge Ibaka, got into a scuffle with Marquese Chriss resulting in a 3 game suspension, the squad was able to bounce back and sweep the series against LeBron James and the Lakers. That victory may have given fans reason for optimism, but there’s not doubt that the loss of Serge - even for 3 games - will be costly for the Raptors. Will this affect the team’s chemistry? Will this impact Serge’s opportunities to start over Gasol moving forward? How will this influence resting other players?

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Richard Birfer of the BallnRoll.com official Podcast, Pick-N-Pod. Richard and Adam touch on a bunch of Raptors and NBA related topics, such as:

- OVO Centre
- Serge
- Playoff Picture
- Concerns
- Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘
- Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Richard on Twitter: @richardbirfs

Subscribe to the Pick-N-Pod Podcast HERE

Visit BallnRoll HERE

Music:

Yung Kartz- "Benjamins"
Auxl Studio - "Blue Bloods"


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


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 102

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@AdamCorsair)


EPISODE 102

"PALMETTO BUGS"

TORONTO RAPTORS TALK

Weekly Toronto Raptors Talk

  • After an up and down week from the Raptors - a week in which they dropped two games in a row - the confidence heading into the playoffs is certainly wavering. Even with a strong victory over the New Orleans Pelicans - a glorified G-Leage team with the majority of their star players sitting - there are still plenty of questions that the team needs to answer heading into the playoffs. Will the rotations stabilize? Will Jeremy Lin get more comfortable with the offense? What will Nurse’s decision between Gasol & Serge be in terms of who starts moving forward? 

  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views & host of the TSV Podcast. Connor and Adam touch on a bunch of Raptors and NBA related topics, such as:

- Playoff Bracket
- Gasol/Serge
- Lin/FVV
- Rotations
- Too Sweet Moment of the Week🤘
- Predictions

It’s a Raptors’ show you WON’T want to miss!

Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorchambers & @TO_SportsViews

Visit Connor's Work: HERE

Subscribe to the TSV Podcast HERE

Music:

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


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