Toronto Raptors Have A Big Week Ahead of Them

By Michael Roberts
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The 12-22 Toronto Raptors control their own destiny this week with a trio of must-win games on the schedule.

The Raptors six-game home stand will wrap up and if the team wants to keep their faint playoff hopes alive, they’ll need a winning record against their remaining opponents. After going 1-2 to start things off at home, there is little room for error in the final three games.

Toronto will tip-off Wednesday against the 15-20 Philadelphia 76ers, before hosting the 9-24 Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 11, followed by the 16-16 Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 13.

The Raptors have already lost twice to the 76ers this season and once to the Bobcats in a controversial finish that saw the NBA apologize for the refs missing a clear foul on Andrea Bargnani in the final seconds. The three losses make the upcoming three games all that more important as Toronto can’t afford to lose any more ground on teams around them in the standings.

Both games against the 76ers have been competitive but Philadelphia made sure to leave no doubt who was the better team at the end of the night. Toronto hasn’t been able to contain the 76ers’ wing players as Philadelphia has seen five players finish in double-figures in both contests. The Raptors will have to do a better job with their perimeter defense this time around before the 76ers beat them twice on their home court this season.

Playing the Bobcats is a must-win, losing to Charlotte on the Raptors’ home-court would be devastating for Toronto. It’s likely the Raptors haven’t forgotten the controversial finish from earlier in the season and will do everything in their power to avoid the game being that close again coming down the stretch. They only lost by one point last time and it was a game Toronto should have won, just like this is another game the Raptors should win.

Toronto will be seeing the Bucks for this time this season and after Milwaukee just fired Scott Skiles, the team will be motivated looking to steal a road victory. Philadelphia might be the Raptors’ toughest opponent on this schedule given their match-up troubles against the 76ers, however the Bucks will still be a challenge.

For Toronto to continue the momentum that saw the team win eight of nine games, they’ll need to go at least 2-1 in their next three games. The Raptors can’t afford to go 2-4 during six consecutive home games and realistically expect to hang around in the playoff picture much longer, let along come February.

They’ve set themselves up for trouble by already going 1-2, the team will need to reverse those numbers in order to avoid the boo-birds voicing their displeasure over a terrible home stand.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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