The Raptors now have less than a month to go in the NBA Regular Season. They currently have a 3 game lead over Nets for the Division and just a game up on the Bulls as we enter play on Tuesday. In theory you would like to see Raptors win the Division Title and finish as high as possible. In reality that might not make much practical sense.
I think regardless of what happens the Raptors would like to face the Wizards if we are being honest. Regardless of if they win a Division Title or not this gives them the best opportunity to advance. Also if they currently hold their position in third likely means a second round match-up with Miami. The Raptors lack of success against the Heat is well documented since Chris Bosh and friends got together in Miami. The Raptors success against the Pacers can leave a little more optimism for an upset to steal a game vs. the Pacers.
After the game against the Suns that the Raptors lost on Sunday there was speculation on if Lowry perhaps got a concussion from getting kneed in the head. Maybe speculation is to strong perhaps the suggestion of it would be more accurate. In any case a loss of Lowry for any amount of time would be a major blow to the Raptors efforts in this last month of the season. However fear not as Lowry claims he is 100% and ready to toll and even after the game claimed he was fine.
The Raptors have had a notable absence in their roster of late with Patrick Patterson being sidelined. The Raptors provided an update on his status this morning. His right ulnar collateral sprain (elbow) is healing as expected and he is expected return to limited basketball activity. He will be re-evaluated after a week and it is still not been made clear when he could be back in the line-up. The original estimate was 7-10 days but that already seems to be out the window.
The Raptors have missed Patterson to some degree as he spreads the floor much more than the Raptors options without him.
The Raptors are in Atlanta to take on the Hawks that have been dying a slow death since losing Al Horford to injury. Once upon a time prior to that injury the Hawks were the team in third in the East ahead of the Raptors. They now sit eighth trying to hold off the Knicks trying to salvage their season.
The Knicks are making big news today as Phil Jackson is being announced as their president. This obviously will be a great story of interest for the Raptors Division in future years not to mention the NBA as a whole. The Raptors are always going to have a challenge in the Atlantic Division battling with the two New York based franchises for years to come.
As for immediate future the Raptors last month of the season it is about positioning in terms of match-ups not what number seed they draw. The playoffs are just days away from becoming an official reality for the Raptors. It now is more about the path they will set for themselves in those playoffs.