We are deeply entrenched in the dog days of the NBA season, particularly for the Toronto Raptors.
The team currently sits eight and a half games out of a playoff spot with just five games remaining, leaving them mathematically out of the playoff picture.
With little to play for -- and to root for, other than a slight improvement in long shot lottery odds -- these last five games should be a true test of pride for both the Raptors and their fans.
This may cause some fans to ask themselves why they should watch these last five remaining games. In response to that question, I have compiled a list of things to watch for tonight against the Bulls and the rest of the way out:
Terrence Ross Dunks
Ross may not be getting as much burn as he ideally would if he was producing during said time, but he has made a habit of providing Raptor fans with at least one highlight a game.
In Minnesota on Friday it was this 360 dunk:
And in Milwaukee on Saturday, it was this one handed smash from the edge of the key:
With Amir Johnson wearing down a bit, Dwane Casey has gone to Quincy Acy a little more often which is good news from an entertainment standpoint.
Acy has been known to throw down a dunk or two, and when he is not doing that, he is-- as you can see at the end of the first Ross dunk video -- providing exuberant celebrations on the sideline.
Alan Anderson scoring explosions:
Sure, Anderson will experience his fare share of scoring droughts, but every once a while he will absolutely go off and carry the team. This will not happen every game, but there is a chance he may pull one out before the season is done.
One of the most anticipated facets of the 2012-2013 season was the arrival of Jonas Valanciunas. Although it was a bit of a bumpy road for the young Lithuanian, Valanciunas has proven that he has what it takes to make an impact for this team going forward.
One of the few positives that can be drawn from Toronto's effective elimination from playoff contention is that it has led to more playing time for Valanciunas, which he has taken full advantage of. He was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in March where he averaged 11.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.07 blocks per game.
This kid is the future for the Raptors and getting to see him show what he can do is probably the biggest selling point this team has, at this point in the season.