Committed to the Play-In: Raptors Insider Lookahead, April 21st-26th.

So I think the Raptors aren’t tanking?

Or at least they want to tank, no matter how many players they list as “injured” or “resting” (we don’t know what to trust anymore). After last night’s win, the Toronto Raptors are in sitting in the last spot eligible for the play-in tournament (I should point out they’ve played two more games than the Chicago Bulls).

At this point, I feel like the Raptors are fine whichever way the season goes from here.

But Toronto will play the two teams ahead of them right now, the Bulls and Washington Wizards, once more before the season ends so if they manage to beat them, we might see the Raptors in some play-off (in) basketball.

With that being said, the next four games won’t be a walk in the park by any means.

Let’s take a look.

Wednesday, April 21st – Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors 7:00PM

The last time these two teams played, the Raptors actually won.

Yes, February 5th seems like decades ago and Kevin Durant left the game early with a poorly handled COVID-19 situation but I will take whatever victory I can get this year.

Leading up to Wednesday’s game, there is some uncertainty surrounding Kevin Durant once again, this time due to injury.

James Harden is also questionable due to a knee injury, so this game actually sounds winnable.

That is, if the Toronto Raptors are able to contain Kyrie Irving, who has been averaging 27 points per game this year, most recently dropping 37 on the Philadelphia 76ers (but as Ben Simmons will tell you, he was also a minus-13).

Prediction: Raptors lose a tight one, 0-1.

Player to Watch: Blake Griffin

I’m only saying you should watch Blake Griffin as I believe the water in Detroit was somehow sucking all of the life out of Blake and now that he is in Brooklyn, he can dunk again!

Saturday, April 24th – Toronto Raptors @ New York Knicks 1:00PM

Are the… are the New York Knicks… good?

The Knicks vs Pelicans game yesterday was actually good. That feels weird to say.

But it’s true, and as of right now they are on a six-game winning streak.

They do have games against the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks before hosting Toronto, but even if they lose those, six wins in your last eight games ain’t too shabby.

Prediction: The Knicks are rolling, the Raps won’t stop ’em, 0-2.

Player to watch: Julius Randle

First time All-Star Julius Randle has been playing some serious basketball here, people.

In his last three games he has dropped 33, 44, and 32 points and I really can’t see any big man on this Raptors team that can stop him. Chris Boucher is too skinny, Aron Baynes is… Aron Baynes and as much as I like Khem Birch, I don’t see him stopping this.

Monday, April 26th – Cleveland Cavaliers @ Toronto Raptors 7:30PM

One of the three teams actually beneath the Toronto Raptors in the standings, the Cleveland Cavaliers have actually kind of sort of had Toronto’s number this year.

By “having their number” I mean it’s currently a split season series right now, with each team having one win, but you should never lose to the Cavaliers… ever.

Every season, there is that one team that has a bunch of players that you’ve never heard of.

That’s Cleveland to me.

Their roster reminds me of when you hit the year 2050 in NBA2K and you have a bunch of computer generated names on your team.

If you were to have asked me if there was a “Hartenstein” in the NBA, I would have confidently said no.

Prediction: no chance Toronto loses. 1-2.

Player to watch: Isaiah Hartenstein

I dunno, check this guy out, I guess? Would you rather watch Kevin Love? or Sexland? This Cavs team is just a grab bag of dudes you don’t care about.

Tuesday, April 26th – Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors 7:30PM

Everything I said at the top of the article but now there’s been a whole week more of rest for James Harden and Kevin Durant so…

Prediction: Brooklyn wins, 1-3.

Player to watch: Blake Griffin

Maybe he’ll dunk again!

Based on my prediction, which I have been very wrong about before, this could be the end of the line for the Toronto Raptors and their playoff dreams.

As a fan, I recommend you enter these games in the right state of mind. Pay more attention to the play from the young guys, the future of the team rather than the focus of winning. Because they probably won’t win.

With that being said, they are currently on a three-game winning streak so who’s to say they can’t do it? Other than me.

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