The Toronto Raptors are in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs.
One huge reason?
They’ve had the contribution from All Star Kawhi Leonard.
Last night, The Claw put on a clinic in their Game 1 matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Leonard dropped 45 points in the Raptors’ 108-95 win on the Sixers.
If you’re tardy to the party: The Claw scored his 45 points on 16 of 23 shooting and 3 of 7 from downtown while Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler combined for 40 points on 16-for-38 from the field.
Also worth noting: Leonard hauled in 11 rebounds and dished out two assists and nabbed two steals in Toronto’s win.
Million Dollar Question: Are the Toronto Raptors for real?
“Good question. I believe the Toronto Raptors are for real,” NBA Insider Ric Bucher told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I believe-know what? I’d probably stop right there. That’s the only team, I think the Boston Celtics can be real, I’m not buying the Denver Nuggets, I’m not buying the Milwaukee Bucks and I don’t believe that the Golden State Warriors are just playing the way they’re playing just because they’re bored. I think you’re seeing the reflection of the grind over all these years.”
The Warriors did get by a Los Angeles Clippers team in six games. But boy did the Clippers have heart! The Clippers were the largest first-round underdog since 1988.
For those keeping score at home: LA was a 100-1 odds to come out on top against the two-time defending champion, Golden State Warriors.
Bucher then weighed in on the state of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
“Can Boston find their way,” said Bucher.
The Boston Celtics surprised many in their Game 1 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs.
The C’s got the 112-90 victory over the Bucks. Kyrie Irving finished with 26 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, Terry Rozier pitched in with 22 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Celtics big man, Al Horford put on a clinic. Horford finished with 20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Even more impressive: Already averaging 10 rebounds per contest so far in the NBA postseason, Horford also has the arduous task of defending Giannis Antetokounmpo.
And that, he did.
Horford surely frustrated The Greek Freak: Although Antetokounmpo finished with 22 points, he needed 21 shots to get there. The Milaukee Bucks All Star could not play freely like he normally does with his drives to the basket were shut off on a consistent basis.
Who’s winning the East?
“Toronto’s the only team that, from beginning to end, to me, has been consistent,” Ric Bucher told Scoop B Radio.
“Or I haven’t scratched my head at times and said; “there’s something wrong.’ So that’s the one team. Now, I’m not saying that they’re going to win it, but, if you ask me, ‘is there a team that I can see in the Conference Finals; the Toronto Raptors is probably the team and the only team that I can say with assurance that I expect to see there.”