With just 15 games remaining in the season, the Raptors look locked into their playoff spot once again. Only two things matter right now: keeping home court for the first round and, if at all possible, staying out of Cleveland’s side of the bracket in the second (in that order).
The ability for the Raptors to make up ground on the Wizards is greatly hampered by the absence of Kyle Lowry. While they’ve done a solid job of holding the fort, dropping games like the ones against Atlanta and Miami puts quite a bit of a damper on their bid for the 3-seed.
A week ago, it looked like the Wizards were hell-bent on making the stretch run as excruciating as possible for Raptors fans. On their 5-game winning streak, they won by a total of 24 points, with two of those games being decided by a single point. To make matters worse, they either made a gigantic comeback or blew a massive lead in seemingly each and every game.
I was ready to write off any chance the Raptors had of catching the Wizards for the 3-seed, but the Wiz have left the door just a little bit. They’ve dropped their last two against the Timberwolves and the Mavericks, and their schedule picks up to end the season. The two-game gap is just small enough to make this last month torturous.
The Raptors, meanwhile, don’t have a ton of easy games left, but outside of OKC and Cleveland, don’t face any scary teams either. Let’s get Kyle back and claw into this lead.