Previewing the five most crucial Toronto Raptors’ games of December

(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images) /

Still rolling along as one the Eastern Conferences’ elite, the Toronto Raptors are set to endure a difficult month of December with five matchups being noteworthy.

The Toronto Raptors, who were always projected to be a top-three team in the Eastern Conference, have risen to the ranks of the conference’s elite. With a 19-4 record, good for tops in the entire NBA, the Raptors have become the class of the league, bested by only –the track record of — Golden State.

After a 7-1 opening month, the Raptors, led by Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard went 12-3 in November.

Lowry, a mainstay for the franchise, has enjoyed a resurgence under new head coach Nick Nurse, averaging 15.4 points and a league-high 10.3 assists per game.

His running mate, Leonard, is averaging 25 points and a career-high 8.5 boards per game. Thus far, the Raptors have yet to fully unleash Leonard, limiting the wing without an appearance in a back-to-back set. With the rest, the former San Antonio Spur has tallied 17 games played out of a possible 23.

As a breakout candidate coming into the year, Pascal Siakam has also made an impact. After averaging 7.3 points and 4.5 boards a game last year, the power forward has upped the ante, averaging 14.8 points and 6.5 rebounds this year. His repertoire has even added polarizing dunks:

As a team, the Raptors have posted a 114.7 offensive rating and 106.7 defensive rating, both top-seven in the league. They stand as one of the two teams to post numbers in the top-seven on both sides of the floor alongside the Milwaukee Bucks.

With a stacked month of December that features 15 games, the following stick out above the rest.