There were serious doubts about the Toronto Raptors shortly after they were swept away, again, by the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James again last season. There were even more doubts about them after they decided to fire their coach. Still yet, people doubted them after they made the big trade for Kawhi Leonard. But those doubts are gone, and in the words of Kevin Durant: “they’re here,” that “they’re not an up-and-coming team,” and that “they have champions over there.”
The Raptors proved just that on Wednesday night with an amazing all-around display to swat aside the defending two-time champ Golden State Warriors… and they did it without the help of Leonard. With their star man sitting out to rest, the Raptors showed that they are a serious threat to the title this season and the definite favorite to take the Eastern Conference after sweeping the Warriors with a 1113-93 win in Oakland. Less than two weeks ago when the Raptors beat them, many would have had an out and could claim the Warriors weren’t at full strength. But this time, things were different. The Raptors jumped out early and led by 16 at half time. Many a team have allowed the Warriors to come back, but not this time. Kyle Lowry scored 23 points and dished out 12 assists and Serge Ibaka continued his brilliant play with 20 points of his own as they overshadowed the 30 K.D. put up to make a major statement that the NBA title could be headed north of the border come next summer.
The Raptors might have been dominant in their win over the Warriors, but there was more domination to be had on Wednesday night in the form of one Anthony Davis. The New Orleans Pelicans big man has gotten better and better over time, and it showed last night as he went off for 44 points in a 118-114 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. And he did it against what had been the league’s top defense prior to that, following up the 41 points he posted against the second-best Boston Celtics just a couple of nights prior. Davis’ night also included a total of 18 rebounds, which is always a good sign you’re gonna get enough second chances to win. Despite the best efforts of Steven Adams on the opposing side late on, Davis’ put backs late in the game helped to ice the game and hand his Pelicans the win, which takes them to an even 15-15 record on the season, which has them right in the middle of the battle in the Southwestern division.