The Toronto Raptors are the reigning NBA champions. A lot of people seem to be forgetting this or dismissing their chances at a repeat.
The Toronto Raptors are not the favourites to win the NBA title, nor are they favoured even to win the East. They are an afterthought to most pundits who are blinded by the bright lights in L.A. and the otherworldly play of Giannis Antetonkoumpo.
Meanwhile, the Raptors keep humming along, led by a deep rotation of players who head coach Nick Nurse gets the most out of every game. Nurse should rightfully be the coach of the year in the NBA.
After an impressive win over the Lakers last Saturday night, Toronto added a gritty victory over the Miami Heat on Monday. As a result, the team is starting to get a little bit of love from the national media.
On Wednesday, the Raptors throttled an overmatched Magic team. Things were going so swimmingly it appeared the Raptors might not lose again.
However, Boston humbled them on Friday night. This was the first setback for a team that has looked unbeatable at times inside the Disney World bubble.
On Sunday, Toronto started a little bit slowly and struggled with turnovers again, but their quality came through as they overwhelmed the Memphis Grizzlies. This clinched the #2 seed in the East for Toronto and marks their fifth straight 50-win season.
But overall, most experts seem to be on the Lakers, Clippers and Bucks, with no room for Toronto in the top tier of contenders. The team appears to welcome the underdog role and has a giant chip on their shoulder, considering they are the defending champions.