Toronto Raptors: Defying all the odds

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, Toronto 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, the Raptors infirmary seems to grow larger by the day. However, for those Toronto fans that are already dreading another year without a playoff appearance….not so fast! Even though the Raptors resemble a MASH unit, there’s a good chance they’ll make the playoffs. Don’t believe me? Just compare the schedules of both the Raptors and the Bulls.

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, the Raptors will be underdogs against the Bulls on Sunday. Next, Toronto will play the Pistons and then the Knicks. The Raptors are a combined 6-0 against those teams this year and should win both games. So, in all likelihood, Toronto’s record in the final stretch should be 2-1.

If the Raptors accomplish that, then the Bulls will need to run the table in their last three games to reach the playoffs. Considering the teams they play, that isn’t very likely. Although I think Chicago will beat Toronto, I can’t see them winning their last two games against Boston and Charlotte, especially if the regulars are in the lineup for both teams. The Bulls have lost to the Celtics twice in their last three meetings and haven’t beaten the Bobcats in Charlotte this year.

After breaking down their schedules, it’s highly probable that the Raptors will bring postseason action to a playoff starved city while the Bulls and their faithful will be on the outside looking in.

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