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Will November Decide Toronto's 2009-10 Season?

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Apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days as both Howland and I were off in Montreal squeezing in some much-needed vacation time.

We'll be back tomorrow morning with our regular rotation of posts but in the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to get some discussion going regarding the NBA schedule that was released last week - in particular how it pertains to the Dinos.

This year there aren't the killer road swings that we've seen in the past two seasons (well, at least not to the same degree), however looking at the first month of the season, one thing is pretty obvious:

This team is going to need to gel quickly.

Why?

Well aside from a sophomore evening match against the Grizzlies, Toronto faces Cleveland, Orlando and Detroit before heading West to take on the Hornets, Spurs, and Mavs.

Yep...that's a good way to see what this team is made of isn't it?

And even after that mini-road swing Toronto faces other potentially much-improved clubs like the Clippers, Pacers and Bulls. In fact looking through the entire month of November, the only game that sticks out to me as a pretty good shot at a W is a November 25th match against Charlotte. All in all, November sees Orlando twice, Phoenix twice, and other very solid clubs like Denver and Boston on the schedule.

So here's my question:

Realistically, how many of the 16 games in November does Toronto have to win in order to hang around in the East playoff picture? At least 8?

I think that would be my guess as with an improved conference, I find it hard to believe that this year a sub-500 squad is going to get into the playoffs If Toronto is cruising along at that pace after month one, then things won't look too bad, and in the latter part of the season when the schedule improves, perhaps they really pick up some ground. However if the club struggles, it may take an amazing December to get things back on track.

You hate to think that one month would decide a season, but looking back at last year's horrific start and the onslaught of injuries that followed, I don't think it's a stretch to say that getting through November healthy and with a solid win record will go a long way in determing the Raptors' playoff fate this year.