College of Sports Media Game of the Night:
With 17 games left in the season the Toronto Raptors are in the home stretch of their season and fighting for their playoff lives. Rewind back to the All Star break and Toronto was comfortably in fifth place looking to jump into the top four. Today the Raptors are in eighth and checking out their rear view to see who is coming from behind. Toronto has lost five straight and trail the fifth place Milwaukee Bucks by four games. The Charlotte Bobcats and Miami Heat are tied for sixth and seventh a game and a half ahead of Toronto. The Chicago Bulls are in ninth and in a worse tailspin then Toronto. Their losing skid has reached eight and counting. The New York Knicks are in tenth and nine games back of the Dinos, so there’s no chance they can catch them right?!? Which brings us to tonight – the Raptors are back home following a disastrous 0-4 game trip out West. The Atlanta Hawks are in town tonight and it’s fair to say they’ve owned the Raptors this season. In their last two meetings Atlanta has beat Toronto by an average of 26.5 points. The big difference for Atlanta this season is who they have coming off the bench. The addition of Jamal Crawford gives the team a scoring threat while their starters are resting. Crawford is averaging 17.6 points per game, over two points better then his career average. The good news for Toronto is that Atlanta played last night. In 15 games on the back end of a back-to-back the Hawks are 7-8. Toronto on the other hand is well rested. The last time they played was Sunday night in Portland, where they dropped a 109-89 decision to the Trailblazers. If the Raptors don’t get things going they’re either going to stay in eighth and deal with LeBron James in the first round of the playoffs or miss the postseason all together.