Raptors Headed To Playoffs

DeMar-DeRozan. Image: US Mission Canada
DeMar-DeRozan. Image: US Mission Canada

Canada’s only basketball team in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Toronto Raptors, are generating some excitement.

For the first time in six long years they have made the playoffs.

Of the 30 teams in the NBA, only 16 make it to the playoffs. There will be eight teams from the Eastern Conference and eight teams from the Western Conference. The Raptors play in the East.

In the playoffs, each team competes in a best-of-seven series. The first team to win four games moves on to the next round. A team has to win three rounds to make it to the finals. Then, the lone surviving team from the East plays the lone surviving team from the West.

Both teams play each other in hope of being crowned NBA Champion.

All-star player Demar Derozen is leading the way for the Raptors. He is the scoring leader on the team, averaging 22.8 point per game. That’s ninth place in the entire NBA.

Also leading the way for the Raptors is point guard Kyle Lowry. The point guard is usually in charge of controlling the ball and making sure it gets to the right players at the right time. Lowry is doing that by averaging 7.6 assists per game. That puts him seventh in the entire NBA.

Along with the superb play of Derozen and Lowry, the Raptors boast a hard working defensive team. They rank seventh in the league in allowing their opponents only 97.6 points a game. Usually holding a team under 100 points is the mark of good team defense.

The Raptors’ opponent in the first round is yet to be determined. Even though the Raptors are guaranteed to be in the playoffs, they are still battling the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets to decide who will finish in third place.

The first two positions in the East are locked up to the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. Both the Heat and Pacers have been ahead of the pack in the East since the beginning of the year.

However, since December 8 the Raptors have won 38 games. That’s the most from any team in the East.

There’s no prediction of the Raptors becoming NBA champions.

One thing’s for sure, though. With the few games left to go in the regular season, Canadian basketball fans can prepare for some playoffs in Toronto.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Many athletes love playing in the playoffs. Have you ever competed in a playoff? Describe that experience and how you felt? Did you enjoy it why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
Most articles in a newspaper try to remain free of bias in order to report a story honestly. However, sports journalists are often very biased and have a very clear point of view. Should sports journalism be more neutral? Why or why not?

Identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alterna- tive perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives  (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Proper Nouns
The name of a team is a proper noun because it is the specific name of a team and is not a general term like, “basketball team.” Most team names contain the name of the city and a noun or ajective to go with it. Write a team name for the city you live in. What makes a team name a good one? What are some of your favourites?