Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Great message left on Mr. Grange's game recap today:
"I think my enjoyment of the Raptors improves when I concentrate on the game and not on the dollar values in the contract of individual players. I have no idea how much money Diana Krall makes every time I attend a concert - and that works just fine for me. I am trying to imagine a review in the Globe of a singer's performance that is punctuated by the amount of money they were paid to show up. Just doesn't happen, does it?" - Posted by Roarque
Just a simple, but absolutely perfect point made by this Roarque. This comes back to the post I wrote comparing Larry Murphy and Hedo Turkoglu, but for some reason, this city is obsessed with the contracts of the professional athletes who work here.
Is it because we live in the most superficial city in Canada? Is it because so many of us work in the finance industry? Does it come back to Canada's widely-panned inferiority complex? I don't have answers to those questions. All I know is that I'm going to watch games the way Roarque does. It sounds much more relaxing.
STAT OF THE DAY
Toronto's win over Charlotte on Monday night was just their 2nd win over a team with a winning record since January 28th! Two-plus months and 27 games played! They are 2-11 against +.500 teams during that time, and 10-4 against sub-.500 teams. I've said it before and I'll say it again - This team has had a peachy schedule for awhile (note: first time I've ever used "peachy" in a sentence).
BREAK IT DOWN
Toronto has 9 games remaining, and owns the tiebreakers with both Chicago and Charlotte. In my opinion, getting out of the 8th seed is vital to at least having a chance of an entertaining first round. I would peg Toronto's chances of pushing a series to at least 6 games vs Cleveland at about 8.4% (you appreciate the .4, don't you?). I think that probably jumps to about 18.6% if the opponent is Orlando. So what are their chances of moving up to 7th? Of even making the playoffs?
6. Mia 40-34 - 8 games remaining (3 home / 5 away); 0 vs. playoff contending teams
They're only 1.5 games up on Charlotte but this race is essentially over. Every single team Miami faces to close out the season is already out of the playoff picture. There is no reason for the Heat to not finish up on a 6-2 run.
7. Cha 38-35 - 9 games remaining (5 home / 4 away); 5 vs. playoff contending teams
The interesting part of Charlotte's schedule is that they have 2 games remaining against the Bulls--one this Saturday, and their final game of the season on April 14th. If you're a Raptors fan, who do you want to win on Saturday? I have to say, I don't think they have the easiest schedule, and I think they're scuffling a bit. I think they finish on a 4-5 run, leaving them with a 42-40 record.
8. Tor 36-37 - 9 games remaining (5 home / 4 away); 4 vs. playoff contending teams
Couple caveats to throw out about Toronto's schedule: Cleveland is obviously a tough opponent (they play next Tuesday), but by the time the Cavs and Raptors meet, Cleveland might have already locked up top spot in the East. So that could mean an unexpected win for Toronto.
Next, they play Chicago on April 11th (3rd last game of the season). If they have a 3-game lead in the standings on the Bulls by that time, then the Bulls would have nothing to play for. I'm not saying it's likely, but that could be another game where it looks like a toughie, but could be an easy and unexpected win.
Finally, I think most people would look at Toronto's remaining schedule and say the Cle, Bos, Atl stretch is the most important part, but I tend to take an opposite view (naturally). I think this next week (Wed vs Clippers, Sat at 76ers, Sun vs Warriors) is THE time to take care of business. Toronto has handled weak competition well all season long and if they can do it again, they could potentially deliver a knockout blow to the Bulls.
8. Chi 35-38 - 9 games remaining (5 home / 4 away); 7 vs. playoff contending teams
They're one game behind Toronto in the standings, but that's essentially a two game lead because the Raptors own the tiebreaker.
Here's why I think the next five days or so are pivotal: If Toronto goes 3-0 against that weak competition, and Chicago goes 1-2 against Phx, Wsh, Cha (not unlikely). That would give the Raptors a three game lead on the Bulls with six to play, leaving their "magic number" to clinch a playoff spot at 3 ("magic number" - any combination of Toronto wins or Chicago losses).
Then, with the Bulls looking at games against Milwaukee and Cleveland, I think you could make them fold the tents up a bit early.
I think it's unlikely Toronto catches Charlotte in the standings (not groundbreaking I know). But you should get a good sense of whether they can in the next week as they need a 3-0 week to have any shot.