As the esteemed RF Admin member Doc asked, “Can it get any worse?” Well Doc, to answer your question, yes it could. The Raptors could lose against the Bulls come up with another injury and then follow that up with a loss to the Kings. I think that would qualify as getting worse.
But it could also get better. Let’s consider that with a little under half a season to go, the Raptors are only 4.5 games back of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot. True, we have to take into consideration that at the start of the year, the Raptors weren’t just talking about making the playoffs, they were talking about getting past the first round of the playoffs. But let’s also consider that if you get into that 8th spot, at least you have a chance (however slim) of getting into the second round. Remember Atlanta last year? Gave Boston a pretty good scare. If you don’t even get to the 8th spot, you don’t have a chance to put a scare into anybody.
The good thing for the Raptors right now is that they are going to face three teams in a row that they have a chance of beating. The Bulls, Kings and Nets are definitely not top level teams, so the Raptors should at least be in each game. If they are able to hold a lead or execute down the stretch just a couple of times, they might be able to get things going in the right direction (even if only temporarily).
The Raptors will have to hope that they have an answer for Derrick Rose, because last time around he didn’t look like a rookie. Since that game, he hasn’t really done anything, so if you have to say a little prayer so he doesn’t use the Raptors as bookends for his average play, then by all means, start praying.
Andrea has been consistent over the last 10 games or so and he had a career night against the Bulls last time around. If the Raptors are able to get Andrea some good looks again and he is able to dominate inside like he did before, it could create more room for Bosh to take care of his end of things.
3 in the Key
1. Attack the Bulls. They do have some holes in their D and are often slow to rotate, so the Raptors need to be aggressive early.
2. Don’t take any Bull. I’m sorry (for the pun too), but you can’t have a rookie walk all over you twice.
3. Get hungry. The Bulls are trying for that last playoff spot too, so the Raptors cannot afford to be outhustled.