Following a four-game Western Conference road trip, in which they went 1-3, the Toronto Raptors return to Tampa for a three-game homestand.
That homestand begins on Thursday with a matchup against the Washington Wizards (7:30 p.m., SN One). Not only is it a meeting with one of the hottest teams in the league right now – the Wizards have won 13 of their last 16 games – it could be Toronto’s last chance at keeping its Play-In Tournament hopes alive.
Following Tuesday’s loss to the LA Clippers, the Raptors have a 27-39 record on the season, putting them 3.5 games behind the Washington Wizards for 10th place in the Eastern Conference. While they face an uphill battle at catching the Wizards with only six games remaining in their season, a win on Thursday would at least keep the door open.
“That’s probably our Last Chance Saloon,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said, per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “Them getting that one against us would be awful tough for us to recover from. If we get it, it puts us in there legitimately … It would certainly go a long ways to keeping us in the race, for sure.”
🎥 The NBA Play-In Tournament Explained! 🏀 pic.twitter.com/3ANPQ5FLbm
– NBA Canada (@NBACanada) April 18, 2021
The Raptors have already played the Wizards twice this season. They won the first one handedly, cruising to a 137-115 victory behind 28 points from Norman Powell and a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double off the bench from Chris Boucher. The second one was closer but the Raptors still came up with the victory thanks to a game-winning 3-pointer from Gary Trent Jr.
Following their game against the Wizards, the Raptors host the Memphis Grizzlies (May 8) and Clippers (May 11). They then close the season against the Chicago Bulls (May 13), Dallas Mavericks (May 14) and Indiana Pacers (May 16). According to Tankathon, the Raptors have the 14th-hardest remaining schedule in the league.
FiveThirtyEight gives the Raptors a 5.0 percent chance of making the playoffs, projecting them to finish the season with a 30-42 record.
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