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Raptors Insider Lookahead: March 30th-April 6th

The Toronto Raptors did not win last night… again.

But really, how much energy can we spend on their 118-104 loss to the Detroit Pistons when the whole fanbase is still grieving the loss of Norman Powell?

The hearts of Raptors fans are still tender.

When Toronto traded Norm, it was pretty clear that they don’t have intentions on winning a title this year. Did we anticipate them to go on a three-game losing streak and have Gary Trent Jr. shoot 24 percent from three?

No, but he did make this cool pass:

Things are bleak for the Raptors but they do have four games coming up where at least three of those games are somewhat… kind of winnable games (usually I would be more confident but this season has ripped that away from me).

March 31st – Toronto Raptors vs Oklahoma City Thunder

If I could choose any Canadian to represent the Toronto Raptors it would without a doubt be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Unfortunately for the Thunder and very fortunately for Toronto — SGA is injured and will miss significant time. Obviously you never cheer for an injury but it’s safe to say if Gilgeous-Alexander was healthy, tomorrow’s game would be more of a problem.

But, looking at the matchup, the two teams match up well, and this could be a good game for the Raptors to taste a win again.

Theres only a half game difference between the two with Toronto’s record sitting at 18-29 while the Thunder have 19 wins and 27 losses. This is the first matchup the two teams have against each other this season, so this could be pretty even.

1-0

Player to watch : Aleksej Pokuševski

Honestly, watch him because he is seven-feet tall and weighs 190 pounds.

Pokusevski is like a walking, dribbling sheet of paper.

But he can actually play basketball too! The Serbian forward has exceeded expectations in his rookie season – now starting for OKC. At 19 years old, I’m willing to bet he will grow into his 7 foot frame so don’t miss out on the chance to see a human stick bug ball out.

April 2nd – Golden State Warriors vs Toronto Raptors

Another game the Raptors could win!

The last time these two played it was close… and heartbreaking.

Before beating the Bulls last night, Golden State was on a losing streak of their own having dropped their last four games.

Long removed from their super team days, Golden State can still score. Despite being tenth in the competitive Western Conference, the Warriors have five guys averaging double digits in points-per-game. They have weapons, and I’m not sure Toronto can contain them all.

1-1

Player to watch : Steph Curry

Curry does not look like he’s nursing a tailbone injury, or at least he didn’t yesterday when he dropped 32 against the Bulls.

Curry only had 11 against the Raps in their first meeting – expect him to have more this time around.

April 5th – Washington Wizards vs Toronto Raptors

Why can’t Bradley Beal be a Raptor already?

Fast forward me to the offseason so I can watch Beal go off FOR the Raptors and not AGAINST them.

For the time being though, Beal isn’t on the Raptors but he is also hurt. It’s tough to tell if he will be back in time for next Monday so the Raptors may just get lucky.

Washington has been somewhat of a mess this year – even with the addition of Russel Westbrook.

The star point guard has still been getting his stats — despite the team being 11th in the East — Westbrook just set the franchise record for triple doubles… in only 38 games.

Last time the Raps played these guys, they didn’t really have an issue with the Wizards defence as seven guys scored in double digits. If Beal is missing this should be a win, and even if he isn’t… this should be a win.

2-1

Player to watch: Russell Westbrook

As I already mentioned: this guy is a triple double machine.

Imagine playing in only 38 games for a team and you’ve got a spot in their record books.

The Wizards are an ugly team to watch, but it is quite fun to watch Westbrook bounce around the court stealing rebounds from the big men.

March 6th – Toronto Raptors vs Los Angelas Lakers

Another team, another injured star player for the Raptors to not worry about.

Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are sidelined, although it is unclear if both will still be on the bench in one weeks time, although it’s safe to bet that both of those stars won’t be rushing back for a game against Toronto.

Despite being down two superstars, the Lakers are still pretty good.

Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Shroeder have picked up the scoring load, and Montrezl Harrell still provides a scary option coming off of the bench.

Guards wise, the Raptors matchup well – but there will be significant mismatches in the post and that is what will hurt the Raptors.

2-2

Player to watch: Andre Drummond

Many of you will be familiar with Drummond having begged Masai Ujiri to trade for him for the ladder half of the season – well now he’s on the Lakers.

I wasn’t much of an advocate for Drummond to become a Raptor but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared of him when they play him.

Toronto can’t rebound.

Andre Drummond can – get ready for a lopsided stat sheet in the rebound department!

Finish the week 2-2

If the Toronto Raptors can split the week, it will be a success.

There was once a time, not too long ago where it wouldn’t be out of this world to expect the Raptors to go 4-0 on this stretch of games… but unfortunately that time has come and gone.

My hope is that Gary Trent Jr can find his footing and be the Norman Powell we know he can be.

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