Where to Watch: TSN (National), ESPN (America, National)
It's been real, it's been fun, but it hasn't been real fun.
We witnessed Kyle Lowry be named an All-Star starter, Terrence Ross fall off the face of the planet, the defense disintegrate into a pile of mush, Dwane Casey's rotations come into question and a second-straight Atlantic Division banner get hung from the Air Canada Centre.
"What a long, strange trip it's been" is typical high school yearbook lingo, but in fairness, that line perfectly describes the Raptors' 2014-15 campaign.
It's felt like we've all been running down the clock for quite some time now. The Raptors' playoff lives were never in danger. It was simply a matter of where they were going to be seeded. That's the luxury that comes with being in the "Titanic Division," I suppose.
Even with just one game left on the schedule, we still don't know which team Toronto will be facing this weekend in Game 1.
The Chicago Bulls hold all of the cards. IF they defeat the Atlanta Hawks tonight, they'll clinch the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, leading to a first round matchup with the Bucks and a Raptors vs. Wizards series. That will also be the case if the Bulls and Raptors both lose their respective games.
However, IF the Raptors beat Charlotte and Chicago loses to Atlanta, both teams will be tied in the standings. Because Toronto won the Atlantic Division, they'll hold the tiebreaker in that scenario, despite losing the season series. This would result in the Raptors taking on the Bucks and Chicago doing battle with Washington.
Charlotte isn't in the playoff picture at all, so all they have to play for is the satisfaction of screwing with the Raptors.
Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist won't be available for the Hornets, which was also the case back on April 8 when the Raptors laid the hammer down at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
After sitting out Tuesday night against Boston, DeMar DeRozan is expected to be back in the lineup for the Raptors.
DeRozan said he plans to play in tomorrow's season finale, sat out as a precaution in first of back-to-back tonight— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 15, 2015
The team will also be honouring Damon Stoudamire, the first real "star" the franchise ever had, for the 20th Anniversary celebration.
The importance of tonight isn't lost on followers of the team. A win to close out the regular season would give the Raptors a great deal of momentum heading into the playoffs. It would also be a franchise-best 49th victory.
Not too shabby, even if it's just one win better than last season.