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Old 02-09-2010, 07:09 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Devlin: Looking at the Big Picture

From Devlin jeff

This morning the fifth-seeded Raptors are three games in front of the charging Bulls and five games behind the Hawks and Celtics. Toronto is one win away from tying their franchise mark for most wins prior to the All-Star break with 29 victories. The Raptors have won 29 games prior to the break just two times in their franchise history, 2001-'02 (29-21, best pre-All-Star winning percentage) and during the 2006-'07 season (29-24). Since their 7-13 start, T.O. is 21-10 and their 17-6 record is the second best record in the league since mid-December. The Cleveland Cavs who own the best record in the league is the only team with a better record since December 18! The Raptors have taken care of their home court, sporting a seven-game ACC win streak for the first time since 2007 and they’ve won 13 of their 14 home games by a double-digit average.
Toronto has posted just three plus .500 records in the second half of the NBA season. The Raptors went 19-16 in 1999-'00, 21-12 in 2000-'01 and 18-11 in 2006-'07. The Raptors will return from the break with 30 games to play, 15 at home and 15 on the road. Toronto will play 16 games vs. the Eastern Conference (Raps are currently 19-16 vs. East teams) and 14 vs. the Western Conference. Fifteen games are against teams that are currently above .500 and five of those games are against Cleveland, Atlanta and Boston. Every game is going to be significant as the Raptors try to make a run at the fourth seed and home court advantage.
But there are two parts within the Raptors second half schedule that stand out to me, March 9 - 14 and April 6 - 11. On March 9 the Raptors begin their four-game West Coast road trip (in fact they'll have just one Western Conference road game after this stretch, March 22 @ Minnesota) in Los Angeles against the Lakers. The Raptors will face the Lakers and Kings on back-to-back nights and then have a two-day break before getting Golden State and Portland in back-to-back games, we'd all take 2-2 on the trip.
Interesting points.

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