It’s fair to say that the Toronto Raptors have been on quite a rollercoaster ride this season. The first half of the season was filled with injuries, poor defence, missed calls, and many other inconsistencies. Also, the departure of long time Toronto Raptor Jose Calderon just added more drama to the Raptors’ season. However, there are some positives for head coach Dwane Casey to try and build on going into the final portion of the season.
The younger players like Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are getting better every game. And even though I didn’t agree with the trade, newly acquired Rudy Gay is doing exceptionally well. With each passing game, the team’s belief grows. But I think we all know that belief alone won’t get a team into the playoffs. The results have to be there as well. Even though the Raptors just had a five game winning streak, the consistency is still lacking in some areas. I’m sure Dwayne Casey will agree that the team still must improve defensively. Plus the overall performance in the fourth quarter must improve if the team wants to continue this run to the playoffs.
The loss against the Grizzlies Wednesday night is a perfect example that showed the inconsistencies mentioned above. Even though the Raptors were playing at home, they seemed to lack the desire and intensity required to get the win. Casey highlighted this fact by stating that the team’s intensity and desire to win was non-existent in the first three quarters. Players like Allan Anderson and Rudy Gay did their very best to stage a comeback. However, even three straight three pointers wasn’t enough to get them back into the game.
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Now of course, it’s not all about the Raptors mistakes. The Grizzlies do have the second best defence in the NBA at the moment. And the Raptors just couldn’t seem to stop Randolph, who ended the game with 25 points and 16 rebounds. At the end of the day it’s another critical loss for the Raptors. It’s certainly not the result that Rudy Gay was hoping for when playing against his former team. To make matters worse, the Detroit Pistons won their game that evening as well, which puts them in striking distance of the Raptors.
It’s always very frustrating for teams to have to depend on other teams to fail as well. At the end of the day, the Raptors playoff dreams may be over. However, even though their chances are slim, there is no denying that the Raptors have the squad required to get the job done. If the Bucks begin to slide down in the standings, anything can happen. If nothing else, the Raptors have given fans another season of excitement, drama, and hope for the future. I can’t wait to see what’ll happen next.