I some how avoided writing about that mess in Cleveland on Wednesday night. The Raptors faced the Cavs without their lone star in Kyrie Irving and built up a 21-7 lead only to lose at the end of the night. DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay were good and that was about all. Andrea Bargnani despite getting played minutes down the stretch did nothing to earn them. It was another brutal effort from the Raptors as group after a lacklustre loss to the Wizards on Monday. It finds them now 6 games back of the final playoff spot in the East.
It sets up a weekend with games vs. Indiana and Milwaukee that could ultimately end any hope of the post-season all but officially. This begins tonight at the ACC against the Pacers who earlier in the week got into a dust-up with Warriors that saw Roy Hibbert in the middle of it and suspended for a game.
Hibbert returns to the line-up tonight and for what ever reason has been a good match-up for Raptors Rookie Jonas Valanciunas who has played fairly well in a couple meetings with Hibbert. Pacers are 7-3 in their last 10 games. They sit third in the Eastern Conference and for whatever reason have lost to the Raptors twice already this season. That should make the chances of them overlooking the Raptors fairly slim at this point.
The Raptors need a solid outing and win desperately. Andrea Bargnani will be less than excited this one is at the ACC given his performance in Cleveland it seems unlikely his detractors are going to listen to the rational arguments of many and not boo him out of the building.
The major issue has been defense in the last two games and the total lack of it from the Raptors at times. The Raptors after dropping two games they likely shouldn’t have now face the task of winning two games that will be very challenging. If they don’t you can save all your playoffs talk for next season. Not that personally I was ever convinced the Raptors would land in the playoffs. It would be nice if they could have made a run at it, if for no other reason than the experience of meaningful games down the stretch.
Those are my thoughts as I head down to the ACC to check this one out live and in person.