Raptors End Season with Blowout Win, Await First Round Opponent
Playing in the absence of Kyle Lowry for 17 games, without Kawhi Leonard for 22 more, and being without Jonas Valanciunas (or Marc Gasol) for a big chunk of the first half of the season, the Toronto Raptors were able to still finish their season at 58-24.
That is one game shy of their franchise mark of 59 wins, a sign that points towards the fact that this Raptors team may very well be the best one ever constructed in the franchise’s history.
Pat on the back for Masai Ujiri.
That being said, the Raptors know very well that their season will be judged based on how they perform in the postseason. At the present moment, they are slated to face the Orlando Magic. With just one final day remaining in the 2018-19 regular season, the Detroit Pistons and the Brooklyn Nets are two other possible first round opponents the Raptors could face starting this weekend.
The Pistons in particular swept the Raptors in their season series in three incredibly strange games, one of which included a ball dribbling off of Leonard’s foot in the closing seconds of the game.
As the Raptors await their fate, they were still able to take care of business in game no. 82 of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
In what was a pleasant surprise, Chris Boucher led the way with 15 points, 13 rebounds and two blocks on a night that the Raptors sat both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Leonard added 20 points of his own, while Fred VanVleet poured in 16 points as the starting point guard. Most Improved Player of the Year favourite Pascal Siakam added 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting in just 18 minutes of play.
“I think all of us want to win, get to that promised land,” Leonard said as he now focuses on the postseason. “That’s a great group of guys here that are unselfish, want to win, want to play defence, want to do the right things on the floor.”
After outscoring the Wolves 43-19 in the second quarter, the Atlantic Division champions did not look back routing their opposition by a score of 120-100.
The 2019 NBA Playoffs begin on April 13.