Toronto Raptors: Whose stock is rising, plus Steady Freddy returns

Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Fred VanVleet (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The road to the postseason is nearing for the Toronto Raptors, with wins against the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks highlighting a strong week. How did everyone fare individually, though?

Here we are, once again, closing in on the end of another successful regular season for the Toronto Raptors. With only 10 games to go, the Raptors sit at a record of 51-21, second in the Eastern Conference and two games behind the Milwaukee Bucks in first.

It’s unlikely that the Raptors can push for the number one seed, despite a fairly favorable schedule over the next 10 games. Stranger Things have happened though, just ask Dustin and Co. From now until the end of the season, the Raptors only play against two teams that are currently over .500: the Brooklyn Nets, a team that has caused issues for the team this season, and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team the Raptors overcame on Wednesday night. Just.

Milwaukee, however, still has tough games against the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, the Nets (twice, Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder on the final day. Now that I think about it, this could come down to the wire. But we’ll see.

Rather than look to the future though, this column is about looking to the past. More specifically: this past week. A week that saw the Raptors play only three games, which is the norm now that the schedule has opened up a bit. In those games, the Raptors went 2-1, with a lone loss coming against former coach, Dwane Casey and the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons swept the Raptors in the season series and maybe that’s the karma the Raptors will get for firing the reigning Coach of the Year.

It was nearly impossible for the Raptors not to bounce back with a win, taking on the New York Knicks, the proprietors of the worst record in the NBA. The victory was all but assured by half time, with Toronto up by 19 heading into the break. The assurances were accurate, as the Knicks played to their record and went down with barely a whimper.

The Raptors rounded out the week with a trip to Oklahoma, to take on the Thunder. Overall, the Raptors dominated the game up until the fourth quarter where they fell apart and allowed the Thunder back into the game. It took an overtime performance for the Raptors to get over the hump, but they bested one of the NBA’s best on their own turf – and that’s all that matters.

Oh, and Fred VanVleet returned to the team. That matters too. He’s in the up column, but you already knew that, didn’t you?