The Toronto Raptors are on a 13-4 run since the All-Star break and bench players like Bismack Biyombo are putting up incredible numbers. If you were living under a rock you may have missed his ‘bizeautiful’ performance against the Indian Pacers where he grabbed 25 boards, a record for the franchise.
“Biz has an incredible spirit, he is playing the game for the right reasons.” Coach Dwane Casey said Tuesday morning. “He knows what his role is and he does it. He is going to continue to get better and improve as a player and a person.”
All-Star Kyle Lowry was named the Eastern Conference player of the week for March 14-20. Lowry averaged 27.2 points, 6.8 assists, 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals, results that did not pass unnoticed by his coach. “We have to respect and appreciate the consistent level of play that Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have brought. It’s not easy to have the expectations of being the leaders on both ends of the floor and to carry the floor offensively. We should appreciate that.”
The Raptors could have officially clinched a playoff spot on Monday night if either of the Indiana Pacers or Chicago Bulls lost. Neither did, so Raptors fans must wait a little longer.
It’s inevitable that the Raptors will be in the playoffs this season, one which has been full of records for the club. Dwane Casey picked up his 200th win with the franchise this year and the team is on track to break the team record for wins (49) set last year. “The guys are accepting their roles.” Casey said when asked about the team’s success. “It’s a big reason for the change in the team. They are all working to the goal of getting to the playoffs and winning.”
While fans have to wait for the Raptors to grab a playoff spot and possibly the Larry O’Brien trophy, a trophy coach Casey says they are still not quite ready for “The goal is building a program to win a championship. I don’t know when it will happen but we are working towards it.”
The Raptors are 1.5 games back of the top spot in the Eastern Conference behind LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. A question that is brought up to the players and coach at almost every media scrum. “Health is so important going into the playoffs and we saw that last year. Going into the playoffs fresh and healthy is probably the most important thing you can do as a team. Having a home court is important but to go out and play guys 40 minutes each night, play them each game down the stretch to be worn down into the playoffs isn’t very smart.”
The Raptors will face the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night in Boston. Toronto leads the season series 3-0.