Coming off three tough losses at the hands of the Pelicans, Rockets and the Mavericks, Toronto needs to get back into their winning ways, and timing could not be better for the Raps, as they prepare to meet the 2 weakest teams in the Eastern conference. This is the perfect opportunity for Toronto to get back on the winning side of the score and shake off some tough losses they had earlier this week. Most of the games were close but surely they must be a little stunned from being beat 3 in a row. The Raptors will be happy to leave schedule woes behind them, as playing 4 games in five nights is not conducive for success and even the NBA commissioner agrees.
Long intense stretches over a 82-game regular season isn’t good for the players warned Raptors coach Dwane Casey. “Something has to give, whether it is the product on the floor or the players’ bodies,” said the Raps coach Casey, who was speaking in particular of this past week’s losses. On Monday the Raps failed to put the game to bed with the New Orleans Pelicans who are missing their all-star power forward Anthony Davis. Before that on Saturday, they were set straight by the Houston Rockets, giving up 25 turnovers in one of the most undisciplined games played this season. “A lot of the stuff we did the other night (in Houston) was (because of) physical fatigue but mental fatigue also. Some of the mistakes we made were very correctable,” explained Casey. The Raptors had 19 turnovers against the Mavericks who scored 28 points off of Toronto’s miscues. “Turnovers were crucial, brutal and led to baskets,” Casey said.
The Raps have also been short-handed, suffering from a few injuries that held them back. Against the Rockets they struggled from the floor playing without the sharpshooting skills of Lou Williams, who’s out from a sprained ankle. Monday’s 100-97 breakdown against the Pelicans, they didn’t have forward Patrick Patterson out with a sprained knee who could have put them over the top.
One of the team’s stars, DeMar DeRozan was happy to get through last week’s tests, he told media post-game, “It’s brutal. I’m glad this is the last one, honestly, to get back from the regular routine. These (stretches of) four games in five nights are definitely tough.”
The Raps all-star said on how four games in five nights can have an effect, “I think if you get fatigued it will be down the stretch. Little small mistakes, not boxing out, not getting loose balls, it’s the second effort that you don’t have but we don’t make excuses. We have lost three in a row and we have to find a way to get a win.”
The Raps should have had some rest since their last loss and will go into facing the Knicks and 76s with an invigorated attitude. It’s time to win games and put points in the bank at this crucial time of the season. That’s why we think the Raps should be a safe bet in rebounding hard on the next two unsuspecting teams.
Raptors @ Knicks
Our Pick: Raps over Knicks
Raptors @ 76ers
Our Pick: Raptors over 76s