We knew the Raptors were going to be a good team, but I think few of us thought they'd be this good. If I go back to the predictions I made in the National Post roundtable, I was actually the most optimistic of the bunch. I had the Raptors grabbing 47 wins and another middle-of-the-pack playoff spot. Instead, they're legitimately challenging for the number one spot and should easily blow past 50 wins. As always: nobody knows anything.
The Raptors play 16 games this month, the final full month of the regular season. It's hoped at some point soon DeMarre Carroll (praise be to god) will be coming back soon to give the Raps that one last piece they need for their serious post-season push. Adding Jason Thompson was nice -- as he can at least play for a few minutes, whereas poor Anthony Bennett cannot -- but it doesn't change much in the big picture. The Raptors need Carroll back to be whole.
Anyway, let's stop worrying and look ahead at the next 31 days.
2 - Utah - We start the month off with the Raptors looking for some vengeance over a banged up Jazz team. Loser of this game gets to keep the "Return of the Mack" audio clip fought over by Shelvin Mack and Bismack Biyombo.
4 - Portland - Two smoking hot teams. Two bombs away guard tandems. Two surprising records. This one could be magic.
6 - Houston - Ahaha, the Rockets. What a mess.
8 - Brooklyn - DITTO.
10 - Atlanta - The Hawks are still semi-dangerous, but without Carroll and with Kyle Korver's plummet back to earth, they are much more beatable.
12 - Miami - Sorry to hear about Bosh, but gotdamn Joe Johnson is on this team now. I am not happy about this game.
14 - Chicago - I AM ALSO NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS GAME.
15 - Milwaukee - Remember when the Bucks were an up-and-coming team filled with optimism? Those were fun times.
17 - Indiana - This one depends on how worried you are about Paul George. If you'll recall, way back when Carroll was healthy, he shut down young PG and the Raptors walked away with the game. The last meeting between these two teams didn't go as well for Toronto (and Carroll didn't play).
18 - Boston - Brad Stevens is cooking up some magic for this game as we speak.
20 - Orlando - Whatever.
23 - Boston - Still sweating about Brad Stevens.
25 - Houston - Look, James Harden is going to do his thing, but this team is a house of cards just waiting to be blown over.
26 - New Orleans - Will Anthony Davis finally play against the Raptors?
28 - Oklahoma City - I suspect this will be a fun game, win or lose for the Raptors.
30 - Atlanta - I suspect this will be a boring game, win or lose for the Raptors.
I'm rushing it big this month and predicting an 11-5 record. The Raptors are firing on all cylinders at the moment, Lowry just got a nice run of rest, Carroll may come back soon, and the bench mob is playing out of its mind. Hopefully Toronto runs into April and playoffs on a high note and we're not looking at the peak of the season right now.
What do you guys think of the month? Let's hear your predictions in the comments.
(Note: I, uh, forgot to do this column for February, and I, like everyone else, was way off my January prediction. Say it again with me now: Nobody knows anything. Nobody knows anything. Nobody knows anything.)