How the hiatus affects all 30 NBA teams

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors: Bolstering a surprise title defense

On the one hand, the Toronto Raptors had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the last two months. Their 15-game win streak — amidst a myriad of injuries, no less — was no joke, and they used the last two months to cement their grip on the 2-seed in the East.

On the other hand, while having a few months off slows some of that momentum, Toronto had managed to create some separation in that 2-spot despite dealing with a plethora of nagging injuries all year, much like the Clippers in the West. Now they’ll have the chance to reassemble and show everyone what they can really do at full strength.

Pascal Siakam is a legitimate two-way star. Kyle Lowry is playing with the swagger of an NBA champion. Norman Powell is showcasing the best basketball of his career, becoming the player the Raptors always envisioned. OG Anunoby remains highly underrated, while Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are as reliable as ever. The Raptors are cooling their jets for now, but don’t make the mistake of thinking they can’t fire them back up in an instant, especially if everyone’s healthy by then. They’re not title favorites, but they’re more dangerous than they’re getting credit for.