Toronto Raptors Roundup: Raps Come Through Against Desperate Opponents

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went into the final full week of the season facing off against four desperate teams fighting for their playoff lives.

On paper, the Toronto Raptors competition this week didn’t look exactly intimidating. However, a quick glance at the standings would show that the Raptors would more than have their hands full with four games against four teams fighting for their playoff lives.

Desperate, each team would be leaving nothing behind as they battled against the Raptors to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot or to secure higher seeding than they presently occupied. The Raptors, sitting in the opposite position, comfortably locked into the two spot, had to straddle the fine line of rust vs rest, getting their guys some run while avoiding any injuries this late in the season.

Here’s a look at each game and a look ahead to the final week of the season.

Game Recap

Orlando at Toronto

The Magic came to town desperate for a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. Unfortunately, they ran into Danny Green, three-point assassin.

Green shot 7-of-10 from distance to lead the Toronto attack. Green set his Raptors high with 29 points and was five threes away from tying Donyell Marshall’s franchise mark in the 121-109 win.

The win clinched the second straight Atlantic Division title for the Raptors and their fifth title in the last seven years.

The Magic came out strong, going up as much as 11 early on, but a resilient Toronto team buckled down and managed to shut down any Magic prolonged runs. A Magic burst in the fourth was quickly extinguished by Toronto’s starters.

The Raptors shot 50 percent from the field, including 19-for-37 from beyond the arc.

Toronto at Brooklyn

The Raptors faced off against another desperate opponent on this night in the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets are fighting for their playoff lives as they compete with the Magic, Heat, and Pistons for spots six through eight. Of all those possibilities, Toronto would most likely find a Nets first round match-up the most favourable.

The Raptors wouldn’t be giving away any secrets on this night though with the Nets closely watching offensive and defensive sets in preparation for a possible first round match-up.

The Raptors still managed to take care of business, keeping turnovers to a minimum (only seven). They forced the Nets away from the three-point line (10-of-32) and controlled the boards in the 115-110 win.

Siakam’s play was encouraging as he scored 28 points on 11 for 21 from the field. The Nets gave Siakam plenty of room on the perimeter, something he was more than happy to take advantage of shooting three for seven from deep. Siakam added 10 rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes of play.

The Raptors improved to 56 wins on the season with the victory.

Toronto at Charlotte

He did it again.

It was less than two weeks ago when Jeremy Lamb hit an improbable and remarkable half-court shot to win the game for Charlotte, so you’d think that with only three seconds left on the clock, the Raptors would have him accounted for.

But a fantastic wrap-around pass by Kemba Walker after he drove the lane found Lamb 27 feet out who spotted up and drained the winning shot to give the Hornets the 113-111 win.

The Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard who had 29 points on 12 for 18 shooting in only 32 minutes of play but missed a fadeaway with only a second left. Serge Ibaka had 20 points and 12 rebounds and Kyle Lowry had 16 points and 11 assists for the Raptors, who had their five-game win streak snapped.

Miami at Toronto

The Raptors would play future Hall of Famer Dwayne Wade for the last time Sunday afternoon, coming away with the 117-109 overtime win.

With Miami’s season on the line, the Raptors had to give everything they had to hold off a desperate Heat team. The Raptors had a sluggish start but managed to piece together enough to force the game to overtime and then hold on for good.

The Raptors excelled in over-time largely due to better ball movement (in other words, not sticking in Leonard’s hands). Gasol, since his arrival, has made gorgeous reads and passes and made the team a better sharing team when he is on the floor. Today’s game was case in point. Gasol had seven assists, added 10 boards and was a +23 in his 33 minutes on the floor today.

Norman Powell got into the act as well, giving Toronto some bounce off the bench, scoring 23 points going seven for seven from the field and perfect from deep. The Raptors as a team had four players scoring 20 or more points.

Dwayne Wade finished with a very respectable 21 points and five assists in his final game in Toronto.

Next. 15 greatest moments in Raptors playoff history. dark

The Week Ahead

Toronto at Minnesota

The Raps close out the season on the road in Minnesota in what will be a meaningless game for both teams. Look for Toronto to give their starters plenty of rest on this Tuesday night to ensure no injuries before the real season begins. The Timberwolves have been out of the playoffs for some time and have been playing out the season as spoiler to teams jockeying for position.