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Tough Night In Toronto

06 Avril 2018

"Our guys had to make some shifts throughout the year and it hasn't been really easy for them". I think, ultimately, that probably wore on us.

With its 56th win of the season, Toronto matched the franchise record set in 2015-16. It's a tough back-to-back, one that could mean a tie atop the East if it goes poorly for the Raptors. We've played some of the best teams in the league, but we've got to find our identity and get back to being who we are.

The Celtics are red-hot. Kyle Korver played for the first time since March 19.

Boston's chances of winning a championship were marginal with Kyrie Irving, but they're absolutely abysmal without him. Delon Wright keyed a 20-3 run in the second quarter, putting the hosts up 43-33 at halftime.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Jeff Green (right) knocks the ball loose from Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet on April 3. Al Horford and Greg Monroe contributed 16 and 17 points respectively with Monroe shooting at 57.1%.

Anthony Tolliver scored 25 points for the Pistons.

Boston managed just 78 total points on the night, shooting 33.3% from the field and a almost unfathomable 13.3% from beyond the arc.

Orlando ended up "winning" 105-100 but fellow strugglers the Atlanta Hawks said "hold our beers", and lost 115-86 to the Heat. Still, the Raptors trailed Boston 20-15 after 12 minutes of play.

Toronto will continue its hard stretch with a home game Friday against the Indiana Pacers, who now sit fifth in the Eastern Conference standings. That's what would make a playoff series between these two teams, these two coaches, so fascinating.

"My plan is to play one game at a time and see how I feel after that game", he said.

Tuesday's grudge match with Cleveland should be just as interesting.

LeBron James has helped the Cavaliers to nine wins in their last 10 games. The last game between these teams was an eye opener for the Cavs (in a good way). "So it's just a matter of him being more hands on now once he does get back". However, before the win over the Raptors, James revealed that was not his plan.

Kevin Love added 18 points and 15 rebounds in a double-double display, while Rodney Hood put up 17 points. Starting with Wednesday night's game against the Celtics.

Denver pulled within a half-game of New Orleans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

That complimentary ESPN piece noted that "something special might be happening" and was headlined "The Raptors might be real and only getting better". He remains a problem. Rookie OG Anunoby has tried to guard James with minimal success. "It might have looked like it bothered me but it didn't bother me".

Reserve Shelvin Mack had 12 points and Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Here's the catch-22, if you're keeping an eye on the standings as the playoffs near.

The Cavs (48-30) maintained third place in the East by a half-game over the Philadelphia 76ers (47-30). Assuming the Raptors do finish in first, their obvious preference is for Cleveland to remain there instead of falling to fourth or fifth. Toronto wants to avoid Cleveland as long as possible in the playoffs due to their inability to guard LeBron James. "The way our guys have persevered through these last 10 (games) says a lot about the character of this team". DeRozan scored eight points in the third as Toronto took a 67-53 lead into the fourth.

Whether carrying momentum into the playoffs matters, whether momentum even exists at all, is open for debate.

Embiid won't receive many MVP votes this June, but there's no question that he's been Philly's most valuable player. "They did take over the game that quarter and it seemed like they were so physical the refs gave them the benefit of the doubt with the whistle which is expected but they played well". The illusion of momentum may be more important than momentum itself.

Calderon began his National Basketball Association career with the Raptors, who are in danger of blowing the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, in 2005 and stayed with them through part of the 2012-13 season.

The Celtics had bench players and G Leaguers out there playing elite offense, and taking down top teams.

Tough Night In Toronto