The Toronto Raptors are trying to do everything they can to get back in the hunt for a playoff spot, but back-to-back games against Eastern Conference contenders are going to make the road bumpier then needed.
With 24 games remaining on the schedule, the Raptors will need every win they can get to improve their postseason chances, especially against teams that are already in the top eight in the Eastern Conference. Toronto will face the No. 2 seeded Indiana Pacers on Friday night and then will have to travel to Wisconsin the very next night to take on the No. 8 seeded Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors are currently six games back of the eighth seed and need to make their move now if they want a shot at clinching a playoff berth. Toronto is coming off of two brutal losses to teams with worse records after defeating the New York Knicks 100-98 on Friday night at home. If they could somehow find a way to defeat Indiana then that would be a tremendous boost of confidence that could be enough to propel this team in the right direction. Unfortunately, it will not be easy as the Pacers are playing outstanding basketball right now as they have their eyes set on catching the Miami Heat for the No. 1 seed in the conference.
Even if Toronto defeats Indiana at home, it does not get any easier going to Milwaukee. The Bucks are playing off the charts as of late. They may have only won two of their last five games, but all three of those losses came by a combined six points against two very talented teams (Brooklyn Nets twice). Not to mention, Milwaukee has been playing with a new swagger ever since the team acquired shooting guard J.J. Redick in a NBA deadline trade with the Orlando Magic. Redick has been a breath of fresh air for the team off of the bench. Monta Ellis is also playing like he is on a mission as he is averaging 21.0 points, 10.6 assists, 4.6 steals and 44.3 minutes per game while shooting 42.8 percent from the field over the last three games.
With a win in each of these two games, the Raptors would be right on course to make a magical run through the conference to clinch the eighth seed. Considering the East is nowhere near as competitive as the Western Conference, there is reason to believe why this could be a legitimate possibility for Toronto.