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Rondae’s response to coach Nurse’s wakeup call has been a game-changer for the Raptors

When Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka went down with injuries on the same day in early November, the Raptors’ entire season flashed before their eyes. As if losing Kawhi Leonard over the summer wasn’t enough, Toronto was now faced with the prospect of needing to survive without two more key cogs.

Not too many people would have predicted it at the time, but those injuries might have been a positive. Toronto has won six consecutive games and eight of its last 10 since Lowry and Ibaka went down. Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam are playing the best basketball of their careers, Marc Gasol remains the backbone of the defence and increased opportunities have allowed the bench to emerge.