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The Raptors Are On A Franchise Record Setting Pace Again
The Toronto Raptors have won 48, 49, 56 and 51 games over the past four NBA seasons and at 55 wins with 6 games remaining, the current Eastern Conference leaders are about to eclipse their franchise record for wins in a season set two years ago.
It’s been a while now that the Raptors players have looked listless, unfocused and possibly bored with the process. An 11 game winning streak that started on February 26th versus Detroit and was punctuated by a win of the NBA leading Houston Rockets on March 9th has been followed by alternating wins and losses over the past two weeks. It seems like once they got a double-digit lead in games over the rival Cavaliers and passed the now second place Celtics, there just hasn’t been many situations that could get their attention.
“We went thru it in Dallas, we went thru it in Seattle, so it’s not anything that’s new to our team,” Head Coach Dwane Casey said to explain the Raptors recent lack of focus. “It’s an NBA phenomenon.”
The Raptors have been starting games without the defensive intensity they showed earlier in the season. Up until March the Raptors were top 10 in fewest points allowed in the first quarter, but this month they’ve been among the NBA’s worst first quarter defensive teams and its often been up to the bench to make up for the starters early defensive indifference.
Call it boredom, a lack of focus, or just the realization they can beat most of the teams in the NBA if they just play hard for the last six minutes of the game. But as coach Casey points out, this isn’t anything new. In reality, this is what a successful team often looks like in the finals days of the regular season.
When you have 55 wins in March, can the playoffs start soon enough?
Stephen Brotherston is the Editor of Pro Bball Report and a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.