As of today, the Toronto Raptors are 43-30, good for fourth in the Eastern Conference. They've clinched a playoff berth and locked up the Atlantic Division title. And if you do the math, you'll notice the Raptors have nine regular season games left. This means the absolute best record they can finish with is 52-30--a record, by the way, which I had pegged Toronto for at the beginning of the season.
But a 9-0 run to end the season seems, at this juncture, a bit impossible. Not with the team careening through a disastrous slide of mostly uninspired basketball. As has been noted, 2015 has not been kind to our pals in purple.
Still, there is precedent. The Raptors of yesteryear (2001-02 to be exact) finished what felt at one point to be a hopeless season with wins in 12 of their final 14 games (including, get this, a nine game win streak!) It was about as bizarrely positive a run of basketball as this city has ever seen. This would be the best case scenario for the team this year.
In the Raptors favour is this fact: after the Houston Rockets as their opponent tomorrow (at the ACC), the Raptors' remaining games are all against sub .500 teams. Those remaining eight games feature only two at home, but they include the following teams: MIN, BKN, BOS (x2), ORL, MIA, and CHA (x2). Now some of these teams will be tough outs, particularly the Celtics, the Heat and TO's forever nemeses in Charlotte. These teams are battling it out for those final playoff spots in the East. (And I'm not entirely sure the Raps' will ever be able to beat Charlotte.)
So, can the Raps run the table? Can they at least win more of these final nine games than they lose? What will be their final record?
To keep optimism up, one final note: remember at the 73-game mark last year, the Raps were 42-31. So, the team has actually improved... by one win. Hooray for progress.
Now let's go to the poll.
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