We’ve reached the conclusion of the NBA’s most irregular season. In their final contest of regular season play, the Raptors defeated the Denver Nuggets 117-109 in a war of the benches. The Raptors finish their season with a 53-19 record and franchise high 73.6% win rate, clinching the 2nd best record in the league. Their first round match-up will be a 7 game series against the Brooklyn Nets.

ImageBattle of the Benches

With both teams’ playoff positions locked in, they severely limited the minutes of their starters. This gave the bench units for both teams a chance to shine. Stanley Johnson was riding the high from his game winner against the Philadelphia 76ers as he lead the charge for the Raptors. His game-high 23 points came on 56.3% (9/16) shooting from the field while shooting 50% (4/8) from beyond the arc. He added 6 assists and fought for 4 rebounds in the contest.

Paul Watson was his running mate. Watson shot the lights out en route to his career-high 22 point performance with 61.5/66.7/66.7 shooting splits. Chris Boucher flirted with a double-double in his limited minutes. He added 9 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.

PJ Dozier was the star for the Nuggets. His 20 point performance came on efficient 66.7%/83.3/100 shooting splits. His scoring production came alongside a game-high 8 assists. Mason Plumlee hosted a block party. He was able to swat away 4 blocks in his 20 minutes of play.

Hustle Man ChapImage

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is an under appreciated gem in the Raptors line-up. Against the Nuggets he produced a well rounded stat-line of 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. While the numbers are quite pedestrian he was a game-high +11. “Hustle Man Chap” has displayed an array of skills that don’t show up on the stat sheet. He’s a fantastic roll-man due to his relentlessness in attacking the rim combined with his ability as a play maker. Due to his insane lateral quickness and strength he can guard 1 through 5 while being unaffected by switches on defence. The 5-man line-ups that Hollis-Jefferson tend to lead the team in rebounding percentage while also leading the team in free throw attempts. His ability as a Swiss army knife off the bench offers the Raptors a versatility that other teams would kill for.

Up Next for the Raptors

It’s time for the NBA champions to defend their title. The playoffs start on Monday August 17th and the Raptors will face off against the Brooklyn Nets in the first round. Toronto won the season series 3-1 over Brooklyn. Brooklyn is missing a plethora of their key players going into the playoffs and are at a severe handicap in man power. This should result in a 4 or 5 game series win for the Raptors. If the series goes any longer that presents a huge red flag for Toronto.

Tune in at 4PM/EST to indulge in Raptors Playoff basketball!