Three NBA teams are vying for 10th place in the East. How does the Raptors’ schedule compare to the Bulls, Wizards?
|Toronto Star 20 Apr 2021 at 18:50|
“It doesn’t really feel like the end of the season to me,” the Raptors coach said Tuesday, as Toronto prepared for a mid-week visit from the Brooklyn Nets in Tampa.
Much has already changed for the Raptors in the final third of the season. A number of familiar names left at the late March trade deadline, including Norman Powell, traded to the Portland Trailblazers in exchange for Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood.
Toronto has signed Freddie Gillespie , on back-to-back 10-day contracts, and Khem Birch , after he was waived by the Orlando Magic, as well.
Integrating the new guys and improving the team’s play overall has meant more practices, walk-throughs, film, teaching and, ultimately, time together — activities that, in others years or with other teams, may have been generally abandoned by this point in the season as rest and recovery becomes more prevalent.
But between the personnel and schedule changes, one thing has remained the same, and has been easy for the new guys to grasp: Toronto’s desire to reach the playoffs.
“I just feel like we’re trying to make a push right now. I think we’re the 10th seed,” Birch said Sunday, before wins by both Chicago and Washington the next day pushed Toronto back down to 12th in the Eastern Conference, a half game back of the Bulls and Wizards.
“We’re trying to at least get into the play-in so we can make the playoffs.”
Finishing 10th in the East, the final seed for the play-in tournament that will this year determine the seventh and eighth seeds in the NBA playoffs, will likely come down to a battle between the three teams.
Toronto has a game in hand on Chicago and Washington. The Bulls and Wizards both have 15 games remaining on the schedule before the regular season wraps up May 16.
Here’s a breakdown of the teams’ remaining schedule, in the battle for 10th in the East.