In my column, Toronto Raptors Will Make The Playoffs, I surmised that the team needed to win 17 of the remaining 26 on their schedule. Going 17-9 in the last two months of the season is a task that could have been accomplished. They needed to get to the 40 win plateau to catch the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern conference.
Optimism was high at the beginning of this week, but two losses to teams below them in the standings has changed the mood for everyone. The Toronto Raptors still have to win those 17 games, but now they have to beat some teams that no one would ever ask them to beat.
The month of March sees the team only having six home dates with nine away. The schedule includes the team’s final west coast swing with games against both the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. Their home stand includes a game tonight against the Indiana Pacers and a middle of the month tilt hosting the Miami Heat. There is also a home on back-to-back nights against their division rival the New York Knicks.
To make the playoffs, the team has to win five games at home. I will concede the game to the Heat. On the road they have to win six of nine. I will concede the games against the Lakers and Warriors.
That would give the team a record of 34 wins and 39 losses. To get to the magical number of 40 wins, the team would have to get six wins from their nine remaining games in April.
The big question would be: could this be realistically done? Yes it can. They have to win both their games against the Bucks and they have to beat every single team that is lower than they are in the standings. Then they also have to grind out some games against teams fighting for playoff seeds. Going 17-7 down the stretch is manageable. The past two losses have made the team’s task a little more difficult, but if they view themselves as a playoff team then getting on this run has to be done.
I think we all understand that making the playoffs is the only real measure for the team’s success this season. General manager Brian Colangelo has done all he could do. Now it’s up to the players and coach Dwane Casey, my thoughts on the coach are well known, to get the wins required. The team’s talent has been upgraded throughout the season, but now it’s the player’s desire to win that needs a severe boost.
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