Taking stock of the Raptors with seven games left to play, first, the obvious: For the fourth consecutive year there will be playoff basketball in Toronto.
That became a certainty with that win Saturday in Dallas but really there wasn’t much doubt since that 22-8 start to the season. What remains to be seen is how high or how low in the standings they will finish.
As it stands now the Raptors cannot sink lower than sixth and for that to happen Toronto would have to lose the final seven games on the schedule. Plus, the Hawks would have to go 6-1 to tie them and since they own the head-to-head tiebreaker — to vault past Toronto in the standings.
That would knock the Raps down to fifth. If Milwaukee won all seven they would finish a game ahead of the Raptors and knock them down to sixth.
That’s the worst case scenario.
The best case scenario could see the Raptors finish first in the Conference but with three teams ahead of them, don’t hold your breath.
Washington appears catchable for third given their tough schedule which includes a game Friday in Utah and then back in Oakland to visit the red-hot Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
The Wizards have been relatively hot themselves of late, until a loss in Los Angeles to the Clippers Wednesday night. Prior to that, they had won four in a row, including a big win against Cleveland.
Heading into play Friday the Raps are a game back of Washington for third and three games back of both Boston and Cleveland, who are tied for the Conference lead. All eight playoff teams in the East have seven games remaining with one exception — Cleveland has nine left to play.
The next question is what kind of shape will the team be in…
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