After Toronto’s exhilarating win against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Raptors now control their destiny as far as playoff seeding goes. If Toronto wins one of their next two games, they will have sole possession of the 5th seed. If they lose both, Chicago has the opportunity to tie the Raptors by winning out both of their games and bumping Toronto back down to 6th due to the Bulls holding the tie-breaker. Moreover, if Toronto wins both of their games and the 76ers lose both of their own, Toronto would leapfrog up to 4th place as they hold the tie-breaker over Philly.
Exciting times, but first things first, the league-worst Houston Rockets, who are missing multiple starters and are definitively in rebuilding mode. On paper, this should be the one that clinches the Raptors the 5th — at least — seed, as Toronto is the much better, much more experienced squad, but, this being the NBA, anything is possible! Not likely. Not probable. But certainly possible!
The reasons why that possibility should never see the light of day is due to Toronto’s absolute stranglehold they put on opposing offenses. This, from SIS Hoops, sheds light on the defense doing their job by forcing players out of a shot all together, and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a pair of Raps right at the top of the list.
Most defensive stats focus on outcomes where shots occur despite much of defense being about the shots that don’t happen. Whether through lockdown defense or schematic concessions, teams yield shots least frequently in isolation when these players are the primary defender: pic.twitter.com/R1UfzKVjUb— SIS Hoops (@SIS_Hoops) April 8, 2022
Houston, being a very ISO heavy team with Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green leading the way, will likely have a very difficult time getting to their spots and finding their shots. On the other side of the ball, Houston’s defense has been porous at best, and Toronto has been shooting the lights out of late. Will all of these trends continue? Can the Raps lock up a 5th seed at worst? Tune in and find out!
Where to Watch
TSN, 7:30 PM EDT
Toronto – Khem Birch, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch
Houston – Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Jae’Sean Tate, Garrison Matthews, Alperen Sengun
Toronto – OG Anunoby (thigh – out), Fred VanVleet (rest – out), Isaac Bonga (toe – questionable)
Houston – Eric Godon (groin – out), Dennis Schroder (shoulder – out), Christian Wood (hamstring – out)