No Kawhi? No problem.
When the Toronto Raptors began this season, there were no shortage of doubters — even after winning the NBA championship.
Without Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors were expected to be good but not great, while some pundits even had them missing the playoffs.
Well, the critics have been silenced.
Nurse on the reg season: "People didn't expect us to have this kind of season but a lot of guys stepped up. A lot of growth for a lot of players. I think there was a lot of resiliency… Just a good top to bottom effort for the crew… It's certainly a joy to be around this team"
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) August 14, 2020
Despite resting Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet for their final regular season game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, the Raptors won again, 117-109. They’re 7-1 in the Orlando bubble, in what was a very difficult schedule in Disney World.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 14, 2020
The Raptors just finished the regular season with the best winning percentage in team history, posting a 53-19 record, which is second-best in the entire NBA. In a pandemic-shortened 72-game season, the Raptors finished with a .736 winning percentage, which beats out the previous franchise-record (.720) set in 2017-18. Toronto’s winning percentage last season was .707.
They begin defence of their championship on Monday against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.