Last Time They Met: Raptors 99, Sixers 78
TOR – Jose Calderon (G), DeMar DeRozan (G), Alan Anderson (F), Amir Johnson (F), Aaron Gray (C)
PHI – Jrue Holiday (G), Evan Turner (G), Andre Iguodala (F), Elton Brand (F), Spencer Hawes (C)
TOR – Jerryd Bayless – (partially torn left oblique muscle) – out, Andrea Bargnani (left calf tightness) – day-to-day
PHI – None
That off-day tweet from Gary Forbes on Tuesday carries a message that should certainly apply to his teammates.
Playoff basketball won’t be coming to Toronto for a fourth consecutive season following the team’s mathematical elimination on Monday, but that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be ample motivation to compete.
Forbes, who is under contract through next season, could cement his spot as a very viable scoring option for the Raptors going forward with more steady play in April.
The remaining eight games allow Alan Anderson to continue to show he belongs back in the NBA. They’re the same games that give James Johnson an opportunity to play like he needs his starting job back.
In the event Andrea Bargnani (left calf) is shelved for part or the remainder of this season, these eight game afford Ed Davis the opportunity to build on a solid start to April and make a statement with the frontcourt situation expected to get a little more crowded next season.
Every individual on the roster has their own reasons and then there’s delivering on what the head coach has relentlessly sought for from a team perspective. Back in late-December, Dwane Casey was adamant about this season being more about playing the right way than wins and losses and he hasn’t wavered from that train of thought.
“I’m looking for the foundation, the defensive foundation,” Casey said after Sunday’s road loss to the Thunder. The toughness, playing through tough stretches, not hanging your head and for the most part throughout the year, we’ve done that.
“We just don’t want to set the precedent here the last few games going down the stretch to revert or to lose that.”
Then there’s the opportunity to play spoiler down the stretch, such as with the Sixers tonight. Philadelphia has been sliding down the standings and they suddenly find themselves in a three-team fight with the Knicks and Bucks for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
It was only a week ago that the Raptors turned in an incredible display of second-half defence on the road to beat the Sixers 99-78 and hand them their second of four straight losses.
Philadelphia stopped that slide with a 107-88 win over the Nets on Tuesday and aims for consecutive wins for the first time in nearly a month tonight.