The Eastern Conference is the weaker the conference. However the top half of the conference was supposed to be very good. Recently the Chicago Bulls, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors have struggled and fell behind the Hawks and Cavaliers.
The Raptors are now in a big slump. Something happened to them after the All-Star break that can’t be explained. Heading into the break they went on a three game winning streak by defeating the Clippers, Spurs and Wizards. They went into the All-Star break with a 36-17 record which was good enough for 2nd in the Eastern Conference.
Coming out of the break they beat the East leading Atlanta Hawks by 25 points on the road. That was the first game on a four game road trip which included stops in Houston and Dallas. The Raptors were a good team that played well against tough opponents.
Things fell apart after that victory. They lost by 21 at Houston the next night and dropped five in a row to end the month of February. The extended break was not good for first time All-Star Kyle Lowry. He managed to score only 58 total points in the last six games of February. It was sited that he was fatigued and he missed three straight games.
Former All-Star DeMar DeRozan was also in a slump. He didn’t score over 20 points in any game during the five game losing streak. During the streak they lost to a Pelicans team that did not have Anthony Davis and to the New York Knicks.
As the season entered into March the Raptors were suddenly tied with the Cavaliers and Bulls with 37 wins. Toronto beat the Sixers on March 2nd, led by DeRozan’s season high 35 points. Lowry missed that game and the next game against the Cavaliers.
The Raptors would go on to drop their next four games, three of them on the road. They are 1-9 in their last 10 games. After going into the All-Star break with 36 wins, they only have 38 wins on the season. Cleveland had 33 wins going into the break and now has 41 wins. The Raptors have dropped to the fourth seed in the East.
Since returning Lowry has scored the ball but still doesn’t look refreshed. He scored 32 points against the Spurs but the Raptors were down as many as 26 points in that game. The same goes for DeRozan who has averaged 27 points in March.
Maybe it was a missed opportunity at the trade deadline for the Raptors to acquire some much needed talent at the small forward position.
The Raptors need to turn things around soon or they might continue to drop in the East. The Raptors, Wizards, Bucks and Bulls should be worried. The Bulls have dropped three in a row, Raptors four in a row, Wizards and Bucks are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
The Pacers have won six in a row and are 11-2 since February 1st. Oh and Paul George might return soon.
Toronto has struggled on the road recently but they only have three road games left in this month but two of those games are against the streaking Pacers and the hard fighting Bulls. The Raptors are in danger of losing home court in the first round.