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Raptors Power Ranking Poll Week 10: Hangover Road Trip

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In response to ESPN's Power Rankings, each week we'll decide: Are the Raptors being ranked fairly or unfairly?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When you think about it, a road trip in almost any context is a good thing.

In real life, a road trip usually means a fun journey filled with interesting sites, significant landmarks and memorable moments. Usually the trip is undertaken with a gang of friends, or perhaps a significant other. Sometimes you can even go it alone and learn something about humanity and yourself. (Personal experience: I trekked around Europe solo and learned that drinking cheap beer unites us all as a species.)

In fictional life, we are constantly reminded that road trips are about the journey not the destination. They are about the paths of self-discovery that every character must go on. We could list tons of books and movies that show sojourns into lands both fantastical and plain. The results are usually positive in some way or another - even accounting for the conflicts and loss along the way. (Let's not get into a philosophical argument about this, just stay with me here.)

But I said almost any context because then there are road trips in professional sports. These road trips are dreaded. They are endured. They are a test to individuals, to teams, to entire cities. No one really likes road trips in professional sports.

It's 2015 and the Toronto Raptors have just crawled through a six game road trip. We all had it circled on the calendar. We knew what it would mean for this team, the East leader since the start of the season, to make it through as unscathed as possible. After DeMar DeRozan went down with injury (he's back on Thursday, by the way), it seemed unlikely the Raptors would fare well.

I'd like to tell you things went smoothly. Despite a resounding win over the Clippers of Los Angeles (and the Nuggets, but whatev), the Raps found themselves with a 2-4 record and a league-worst 114 points per 100 possessions over the six games. Worse still, they are now tied for third in the East with a Bulls team that has eaten their lunch in two straight contests.

Sadly, even Captain Stein could see the writing on the wall. The Raptors need to return to Toronto. And they could use something - anything - from DeRozan.

10
Toronto
24-10
5
Last Week: 5
No one has ever referred to DeMar DeRozan as a defensive specialist. But there's no disputing the notion that the Raps regressed defensively in December without him and need the jolt of energy DeRozan's projected return this week will provide, even if Toronto went a passable 11-7 without him.

As the great paean to road trips Planes, Trains and Automobiles once opined, getting into trouble out there on the road can only mean one thing: you're fucked.

Now, on to the poll.