Title: Raptors try a little of everything, but not much of it works in loss to Magic
Date: February 24, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about a bad loss to the Magic and some of the mildly concerning patterns it highlights for the Raptors.
There is at least enough separation between the tiers of the Eastern Conference for the Raptors to begin watching the standings, if not for their own placement than for their potential first-round opponent. Some 60 games into the year, the East has separated itself into a top two, in which the Raptors decidedly look like the No. 2 in, a middle three teams jockeying for home-court advantage and to avoid each other in Round 1 and five or six teams vying for the final three playoff spots.
Early Sunday afternoon, head coach Nick Nurse only lent minor credence to the idea that it’s time to start focussing on who may be visiting Scotiabank Arena the second weekend in April. Assistant coaches are beginning to narrow the focus of their regular advanced scouting updates to just potential playoff teams, presenting Nurse with “this team in an hour” type reports, but there are still six weeks of the day-to-day to focus on, too. Looking at the standings too much can be a distraction, and since the Raptors don’t have much control over anything other than whether they finish first or second, it’s more observing than hoping for a certain matchup. They’ll be heavy favourites regardless.
After Sunday, Nurse and company might have a little more skin in the game. The Orlando Magic, it seems, have the Raptors’ number.