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Raptors-Heat: Searching For Positives, Preparing For The Playoffs

Toronto returns home after an unsuccessful road trip.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Where to watch: 7:30, Sportsnet One

When the Raptors are struggling -- and if you've been following the team for 20 years, there's been a whole lot of that -- I always feel this invisible thud, a crashing of expectations that you previously set for your team. I think that's how I would sum up the recent stretch that's seen the team lose nine out of ten, one of those stretches that makes you uncertain whether this team can even win another game again this season.

Of course, they will, and they might win plenty more, as the schedule gets a bit easier down the stretch. Of course, no one is going to sit here and call any game easy at this point. For Toronto, it's time to use this final slate of games before the playoffs to regroup. A few days off may help, coming home to play a Miami Heat team that is 29-35 may help. Toronto needs to get one win, and then another, and then hopefully string something together.

It's easy as a rational fan of the team to sit here and say, "well, what did everyone expect anyways. This team was never going to win a title and I'm kind of glad those unrealistic expectations are gone now with the team struggling.", but of course, it's not that fun. Being right and having your suspicions confirmed is one thing, having no fun when you watch your team and just wanting to look away is a complete other experience that feels too familiar.

Anyways, that's about as grim as I'm probably going to get about this season. Wins and losses are nice, and it's a shame that 50 wins is no longer a guarantee and unlikely, if you ask me. But this team has its limits, and their record has regressed accordingly. But it's not the end of the world, and the playoffs will be just around the corner. Now we just need to team to give us a reason to get excited for however long that playoff run may last. May it start tonight.

By the way, Charles Oakley will be in the building, to be honored by the Raptors as part of their ongoing 20th anniversary celebration. Tyrone Hill and Jeff McInnis are not expected to attend.