Raptors Record Watch: the losing streak is over!
The Toronto Raptors ended their epic losing streak at 13 games with a solid 111-100 victory over the equally inept Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. The Raps pulled up four losses short of tying the franchise record for most consecutive defeats, but are still very much in the race for last place in the NBA standings. Still, in order for the team to snag that coveted bottom spot and maximize its chances of acquiring the number-one pick in next year’s draft, a lot has to go right. Er, wrong.
With five games to go before the all-star break, the Raptors’ 14-37 record make them the fifth worst team in the NBA. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers all boast worse marks, and the Cavaliers are easily the most unsuccessful of the bunch with at an absolutely abysmal 8-43. The Raps have their work cut out for them if they are going to chase Cleveland sans LeBron James, as the Cavs are mired in a 24-game losing skid—the longest-ever in NBA history.
We are happy to report, though, that circumstance is on the Raptors’ side. The poor team has been saddled with injury upon injury this year, most recently losing small forward Linas Kleinza Kleiza to a season-ending knee surgery. Reggie Evans may be back by the all-star game, but he also may not, and the longer he stays out the better—for both his health and the Raptors long-term success. If the team can stay unhealthy, they can tank with both dignity and grace. Plus, the squad’s schedule this month is by no means kind with tough tilts against San Antonio, Portland, Miami, Chicago and Dallas. There’s nothing like a string of difficult match-ups to bring the team’s confidence down to an all-time low.
The bottom line: Cleveland has to get better and Toronto has to get a lot worse if a true tank-job is in the making. All the right pieces aren’t in place. Now, all the Raps just have to do is put their worst foot forward.