Last time you checked in we told you to expect a 3-0 week.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The Raptors retained their spot atop the Eastern Conference by beating up on the Pacers, Knicks, and Magic over the past seven days to improve to 19-6 on the season – good for first place in the East.
But enough gloating about the past; here’s what lies ahead…
The easy livin’ continues this week with games against the Nets (10-12), Pistons (5-20), and Knicks (5-21), who aren’t even friends with each other.
Things then escalate quickly as the Dinos close out the week against a difficult Bulls team in Chicago, after which they’ll head West to play some of the league’s elite as part of a gruelling six-game road trip.
We’re expecting a 3-1 week and very impressive 22-7 record by the time we check back in with you next Wednesday.
But first, Drake night’s tonight. Too bad ugly t-shirt parties aren’t a thing during the holidays.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEK: LANDRY FIELDS
We picked Landry as last week’s X-Factor and were rewarded with four straight Fields sightings – all of them starts. His numbers are more or less irrelevant since his biggest asset comes on the defensive end guarding bigger wings, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised with his output. Expect his minutes to continue to hover around 22 a game.
His most important moment of the week, however: making sure Lowry shaking up the Magic’s Victor Oladipo was not in vain…
X-FACTOR: JONAS VALANCIUNAS
The big man’s rollin’.
Valanciunas finished the four-game week averaging 13.5 points and 13.5 rebounds to go along with a block a game while shooting 55% from the field – good enough for runner-up honours in Eastern Conference Player of the Week voting.
He’s becoming more of a presence in the paint and is delivering exactly the type of performances the Raptors coaching staff has been craving since the season tipped off. He’ll be a major factor in how well the team performs both this season and in the foreseeable future; who knows, he may even become good enough for Charles Barkley to learn his name.
OFF THE COURT:
It is your civic duty to vote Kyle Lowry for the NBA All-Star game. We suggest exercising that obligation via social media. Often.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Leading scorer and team co-captain DeMar DeRozan’s groin injury will keep him off the court for about another three weeks, but that doesn’t mean he’s sitting around his condo playing 2K15. On top of attending coaches meetings and trying to apply the NBA’s dress code, he’s fully living the 360-degree young professional life by adding valuable on-camera experience to his resume:
Cover image from: Toronto Raptors Facebook