Toronto Raptors: Nowhere to go but down

It was a sight all too familiar for Raptors fans.

With Toronto trailing Atlanta by only eight late in the third quarter, Antoine Wright went up for a three pointer. He, and maybe the Raptors playoff hopes, hit the floor with a thud. Wright left the game with a sprained ankle after stepping on Hawks guard Mario West’s foot and was carried off the court in the Raptors 107-101 loss to Atlanta.

On the bright side for Toronto fans, the Raptors remains deadlocked with Chicago for eighth in the East after New Jersey beat the Bulls in double overtime.

But with Chris Bosh already on the sidelines, Toronto’s infirmary seems to grow larger by the day. The Raptors now resemble a MASH unit that’ll be hard-pressed to make the postseason. Don’t believe me?

Flash back to a couple of months ago when Bosh missed seven games with an ankle injury. The Raptors record during that time span was a mediocre 3-4. Even then, those three wins came against NBA lightweights New Jersey, Washington, and New York. That doesn’t bode well for Toronto, especially when you look at the rest of their schedule.

The Raptors have three games left: Chicago, Detroit, and New York. They’ll have to win all three of those games to be guaranteed a playoff spot. But without Bosh, and possibly Wright, that isn’t very likely. The Raptors will be underdogs against the Bulls and I don’t see Toronto beating them with all their injuries. Next, Toronto will play the Pistons. This would usually be considered a very winnable game for the Raps, but Detroit has won three of their last four and have taken out Eastern Conference powers Atlanta and Miami in that span. The only easy game I see for Toronto is their last one against the Knicks considering they’ve already beaten New York without Bosh once already this season. In all likelihood, the Raptors record in the final stretch should be 1-2.

If Toronto finishes that way, then all Chicago needs to do is take two of their last three to make it into the playoffs. Considering the teams that they are playing, that is highly probable. I already mentioned that they should beat Toronto. Afterwards, they’ll face Boston and Charlotte to close out the season. The Bulls have had a tough time with the Celtics recently, but Boston has lost five of their last eight and are ripe for the picking. Also, there’s a chance that the Celtics will rest some of their regulars before the playoffs. Same goes for the Bobcats, who might not dress some of their starters in the last game of the season. If that’s the case then Chicago, who beat Charlotte a week ago, will probably do the same this time around.

After comparing the schedules of both teams, there’s a good chance that when the playoffs start, the Bulls will still be in contention while the Raptors will be playing the back nine at the local golf course.

About the Author