Breakdown of Toronto Raptors record: Where have they succeeded? Where have they struggled?

Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

With a record of  45-17, the Toronto Raptors are one of the best teams in the NBA. How did they get there? We breakdown their record in more detail.

The Toronto Raptors are currently in second place in the NBA. With a record of 45-17, Toronto sits behind only the Milwaukee Bucks, a fellow Eastern Conference foe, who is 2.5 games up at the moment.

Considering their upcoming schedule, don’t expect the Raptors to take a tailspin anytime soon. Catching a Bucks team with is essentially a four-game lead in the loss column might be unrealistic, but the Raptors should fall safely in the top two seeds.

How have the Raptors earned the second best record in the NBA? Who have they struggled against, and who have they dominated? We break it down piece by piece.

The top teams in the East

Toronto is 2-2 against the Boston Celtics

Coming off an impressive blowout victory, it may seem as if the Toronto Raptors have dominated the Celtics so far this season. However, with a record of 2-2, the series is much closer than you’d think. Each contest battled into the fourth quarter prior to Tuesday night’s shellacking.

Toronto is 1-3 against the Milwaukee Bucks

The only team with a better record than the Toronto Raptors at this point in the season is also one of the only teams to secure a head-to-head series victory. One game was played without Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo so you can throw it out if you’d like, but either way, the Bucks have controlled this matchup.

Toronto is 3-1 against the Philadelphia 76ers

The other side of the coin, the Raptors have dominated the 76ers so far this season. Two matchups were played without Jimmy Butler and were played without Tobias Harris, but if Kawhi shuts down Ben Simmons as he’s done in previous matchups, it shouldn’t matter.

Where they’ve “struggled”

With a record of 45-17, it’s hard to find areas where the Raptors truly struggled. However, compared to their second place standing, there are a few areas where they have bombed.

When Kyle Lowry struggles

Kyle Lowry has scored single-digit points 11 different times this season. In those games, Toronto is 5-6. Sure, many teams struggle when their second best player isn’t scoring the basketball. Not this badly, this often.

December and January

The Raptors went 8-7 in December and 10-5 during January for a combined record of 18-12. During that span, they had the league’s 13th best record and 12th best NetRtg. Luckily, they’ve turned it for an 8-1 February since.

Close games and when trailing

Master of the comebacks:

The Raptors are currently 6-14 when trailing after three-quarters. That doesn’t sound impressive, but it’s actually third place in the NBA. It’s harder than you think to come back in a regular season matchup, and Toronto has done it an impressive six times.

The only teams who have done it more: The Golden State Warriors (makes sense they typically don’t try until the second half) and the Detroit Pistons (I’m still searching for how this makes sense).

Three points or less:

There has been much criticism of Toronto’s late-game offense. It’s been clunky and very Kawhi-iso-heavy. Still, they’re the second best team in the NBA in games decided by three points or less, only behind the Denver Nuggets. Their crunch time might not be great, but it’s better than most teams.

Raptors all-time starting roster. dark. Next

Individual teams:

Toronto has clinched a sweep of the following teams so far this season: Washington, Utah, Phoenix, Memphis, Golden State, Dallas, and Atlanta

Toronto has been swept by the following teams so far this season: Denver