The Raptors (54-26), waiting to see who their opponent will be come playoff time, are using these final games for tuneups and to get DeMarre Carroll in rhythm for the post-season. Tonight’s game is a mental challenge, considering the Raptors have locked up the second spot and the 76ers (10-70) is the opponent tonight — having absolutely nothing to do with the playoffs.It is unclear whether the Raptors will be resting anyone tonight.
The 76ers, who recently appointed Bryan Colangelo as their new GM, have lost 14 straight road games and are hoping to end the season off on a strong note.
Raptors Cage’s Keys To The Game
- Be mentally locked in
The Raptors are not great against competition below them, especially now considering the Raptors are in the playoffs, locked in at second, whilst the 76ers are going golfing. A game like this provides a time to improve on the mental aspect, the ability to turn it on even when the stakes aren’t high. The Raps have to focus in on the game plan and treat it as if it’s one of their playoff opponents.
The Raptors are a far more talented, stronger team. There’s absolutely no reason they should be going down to the wire with the 76ers. Establish the defensive identity right away, share the ball offensively and build a lead. The Sixers are a hardworking bunch of young kids — anything can happen if the Raptors don’t pull away early.
3. Get DeMarre Carroll going
Most likely on minutes restriction again tonight, it’s important that DeMarre Carroll gradually increases playing time and effectiveness on the court. These last two games are mainly going to be workouts for Carroll to get back into the rhythm of things. This is the perfect game to start examining Carroll in extended minutes and running things through him.
X-Factor: Jonas Valanciunas
There’s not a single big that can handle Jonas, especially the way he’s played in the last month and a half after he recently told media he cut sugar. He’s been on a tear; keep him going that way, so he feels good going into the playoffs.