You can almost see the finish line now, can't you? There are just 19 days to go until the NBA playoffs begin in earnest. It's OK to feel nervous, but it's also OK to feel wildly excited; it's really all a matter of perspective. The Raptors are cruising into this week on the hunt for their 50th win, a first in franchise history. With four games on deck, history will be made shortly.
So before we jump right to into anxiety mode, let's enjoy the final couple weeks of the season, the Raptors' final ten games, and the finest collection of talent Toronto has ever had. And hey, maybe DeMarre Carroll (praise be with the highest of hosannas) will return this week.
Now let's get to the picks.
March 28th vs. Thunder - When All-Stars Collide
If you went to the multiplex this weekend it was impossible to avoid seeing Batman v. Superman-related stuff. It was ever present. You'll have to forgive me when that's the comparison I make when the Thunder visit Toronto tonight to take on the Raptors. They've got two All-Stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (perhaps you've heard of them) and the Raps have Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. This will be the battle to watch. (And I can assure you, it'll be better than whatever the hell that BvS mess was.) It's just a shame this foursome can't join forces... YET.
March 30th vs. Hawks - Calling the Number
I happen to believe the Raptors have the Hawks' number a bit this year. Yes, the Atlanta starting front court has a wit and mobility the Raptors' starters lack, but overall Toronto just feels like it has more talent and cohesion. Plus, there is something to this idea of putting Norman Powell, long-armed wrecker, on Kyle Korver and watching the poor old man wilt under the pressure. The Hawks are always dangerous but I'm not too worried.
April 1st vs. Grizzlies - Mystery Men
So, there is a film version of Mystery Men but the original idea came from a comic (Flaming Carrot) that involved a team of super heroes that were constantly getting killed off. Membership on the team was a revolving door of new faces and you'd hardly expect the character you met at the beginning of the tale to make it to the end. Does this sound like the woefully injured Memphis Grizzlies? What if I told you the Mystery Men also featured members with wild personalities who carried out their tasks with reckless abandon? Ah yes, now you see it.
April 2nd vs. Spurs - This is a Good Team
No way the Raptors sweep the season series from San Antonio. It just isn't happening. God love them for trying though.
All in all, I see a 2-2 week. The Hawks and Thunder game are toss ups, with the Raptors probably splitting them one way or the other. The Grizzlies game feels easy, provided Toronto comes with the right amount of toughness. And the Spurs game is a write-off. Still, by this point, 50 wins will be in the bag. Huzzah.
What are your picks?