Are the Toronto Raptors hot right now? Are they feeling the March Madness fever? I know we just witnessed a 16 seed upset a 1 seed in the March Madness tournament for the second time in NCAA men’s basketball history, but have you ever seen a 9th seed in the East upset the 8th seed in the West?
This truly could be ground shaking if it happens.
This Raptors team is looking for just their fourth winning streak that spans over three games this season. Which is just insane to me that that’s a stat. However, this is one of their more impressive two game stints that we have seen this season.
There was a two game stretch on October 31 and November 2, where the Raptors beat the Atlanta Hawks by 30, and the San Antonio Spurs by 43. An absolute walloping of two not so great teams.
These past two wins though, have been the second highest combined point total of a two game winning streak from the Raptors all season. That is right. The 15 point win over the first place in the West, Denver Nuggets, and 17 point win over the current play-in seeded, Oklahoma City Thunder is the second best two-game stretch of the season.
Those previous two beat-downs mentioned, were followed by a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, in a game where Pascal Siakam got injured, and was forced to sit out the next ten games. Tonight, the Raptors look for a different result against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
THIS IS MARCH!
Where to watch
TSN, 7:00PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl
Minnesota Timberwolves — Mike Conley, Jordan McLaughlin, Jaden McDaniels, Kyle Anderson, Rudy Gobert
Toronto Raptors — Dalano Banton (Out - Thumb), Christian Koloko (Questionable - Nose), Otto Porter Jr. (Out - Foot)
Minnesota Timberwolves — Karl Anthony-Towns (Out - Calf), Austin Rivers (Questionable - Back), Naz Reid (Questionable - Calf), Jaylen Nowell (Out - Knee), Rudy Gobert (Questionable - Ankle), Anthony Edwards (Questionable - Ankle)
As a Raptors fan, does that T-Wolves injury report bring back haunting memories? One where not only nearly half the team is listed, but all of your top players are on there as well.
Not to mention that after Anthony Edwards left the game last night, and returned to the bench in a walking boot, which will likely put him out of this game.
Looking at this, the Raptors should win. However, the Raptors should have won a lot of games where they have shown up completely flat, and not ready to play. My mind always flashes back to that back-to-back Orlando Magic thumping in December, which I feel truly sparked the poor season from the Raptors.
Those two games sparked a six-game losing streak, and a span of 11 losses over the course of 14 games.
Tonight is different though! This is March! The Toronto Raptors have caught the cinderella run fever!
At least they better have, if they want to make the play-in, let alone distant hopes of grabbing a top-six seed.
There are only 12 games left, and Toronto currently sits two games ahead of the Indiana Pacers at 11, and one game back of the Atlanta Hawks for 8.
I have a hard time believing that they will finish higher than 8th. They would have to finish 10-2, or maybe even better, and even that doesn’t assure them a spot in the top 7.
The eighth seed is still worth fighting for though! The opportunity to only have to win one game, instead of two to get into the playoffs. Not to mention the chance to play the second place team over the first. Which, to be fair likely won’t make a big difference because it will be Milwaukee or Boston either way.
Toronto truly has a chance to go on a run and carry some momentum into some hopeful post-season games. Out of their next six games, they only face one playoff team. This game against Minnesota also marks Toronto’s final game against a Western Conference opponent this season.
Toronto is 14-15 against Western Conference opponents this season, and tonight gives them a chance to finish the season even against the opposing conference.
The last time these two teams faced off, we honestly saw a good game, with a terrible finish from the Raptors. Which kind of seems like the story of this team’s season.
Toronto was leading by 10 at half, and 8 heading into the final quarter. A final quarter which they lost by 10, only scoring 17 points, resulting in a 2-point loss on the road.
Tonight is different though! The Raptors are at home, where they have been 22-13 all year. Their record is nearly reversed on away games. Also, the likelihood of Anthony Edwards missing the game is pretty high, and even though I will never root for injury, this bodes in Toronto’s favour and should help them win.
Also, who could forget? THIS IS MARCH! The cinderella run is here. Toronto is ready to put together their best three-game stretch of the season, and continue this play-in push!