Pretty much this is a close as you can get to a 1 game playoff in the NBA. The Raptors magic number is 3 to make the playoffs. They beat the Bulls today and that number becomes 1. Meaning all the Raptors would have to do is beat the Knicks or Pistons and they are in. They way this playoff race has gone the Bulls would more likely lose in one of their final 2 games to the Celtics or Bobcats. Both the Bulls and the Raptors should they not get in will have many things to look back on with regret. For the Bulls a double OT loss the Nets would have made this a far less do or die game for them today if they could have won.
I am going to be at this game at the ACC. This is probably the biggest game I have worked on in my media career in person. No disrespect to the AHL Playoffs but for me this is much bigger than that. The Red and Black attack has come early and if the fans of the Raptors want a date with the King they almost have to win today. If they don't destiny is officially and finally out of their hands. If the Bulls won out after defeating the Raptors they are in.
Given the way these teams have played down the stretch it is hard to try to figure out just what to expect especially with both teams knowing there season is online. The Bulls do have that epic playoff series to fall back on for experience. They don't have Ben Gordon's instant offense as they let him walk to Detroit. Safe to say win or lose the Bulls will be begging for his help when the Raptors hook up with the Pistons. Where Gordon the former Bull and Charlie V the former Raptors have had terrible seasons after sign big long term deals in the off-season.
That led nicely into heDO or heDON't. Masks, BALL, and under performance have been the theme of a season gone wrong for Turkoglu. That and no pictures especially when he is suppose to be injured and hanging out in Yorkville. However this is why the Raptors brought in Hedo. Games like this that mean the most. It seems like a distant memory but Turkoglu was the key piece to help Dwight Howard get to the NBA Finals. That clutch performer has rarely shown up since he crossed the border. If Hedo wants to make a big impression and make a lot of the fans that hate him, love him. Simple solution show up today and win.
Looking at some other folks that stand out for me beyond the obvious in Andrea Bargnani who has been less than stellar of late. How about Sonny Weems the new franchise player in waiting since Bosh has been out. Easily the biggest game of his NBA career. In fact let's be honest prior to Toronto he didn't have much of one. That is not a knock on Sonny as much as just he never has been given the chance he has here in Toronto. Others include his Young Gun brothers Amir and Demar. For Amir the mission is pretty simple don't get into foul trouble. Actually for Amir that is not that simple. Then you have Demar, taking on his college team mate and only one guy from USC is going through. Taj Gibson like Demar has had a nice rookie season for the Bulls. The difference is the expectation level when you get picked in the lottery and when you don't.
Finally Jarrett Jack has just become the face of all of this frustration as he tries to hold on to hope of making the playoffs for the first time. I am hoping for a smiling Jack in the post game in the Locker Room. No one on this team has earned the right more than him to smile.
So that is all my thoughts heading into the BIGGEST DAY of the Raptors season one way or the other. Follow me on Twitter @Dinonationblog and I will be giving you some updates from the arena. It is time to back this show up and hit the road. Next Stop the T-DOT!!!