Could this be Toronto’s year in the playoffs? - NBA Playoff Preview

Toronto Raptors’ playoff push is under way, with the first round series currently tied at 1-1 with the Indiana Pacers. After a couple of years of misery in the tournament, Toronto is favored to go further this time. Could they go all the way?

Fans will have been apprehensive going into the playoffs this year after watching their team get dumped out of the competition in the first round for the past two years running. This season, at the time of writing, the Raptors are 17/5 in the NBA playoff odds to win 4-1 in their series against the Pacers. Cleveland Cavaliers are favorites in the Eastern Conference to make it to the playoff final, with the Raptors at odds of around 25/1 to win the tournament.

Having taken part in the playoffs eight times, the Raptors have only made it past the first round once. That was in 2001 when they were eliminated in the semi-finals. It could be argued that this year holds their best chance to set a new club record, with players like Jonas Valanciunas and Lou Williams at their disposal and in great form. Perhaps their greatest asset, though, is Kyle Lowry. In the last match against the Pacers, the All-Star got 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals in his second triple-double of the season.

If the Raptors manage to go all the way and beat their rivals in the Eastern Conference, unless there is a massive upset in the Western Conference, they are likely to face an NBA powerhouse in the final. The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs look like the strongest sides in the competition, with bookies setting them at odds of 4/6 and 7/2 to win respectively.

Although the NBA playoffs have always eluded the Raptors, they have enjoyed greater success in recent years, winning the Atlantic division in the past three seasons. If they can carry on this momentum through the play-offs then they could make history.

These are exciting times for Toronto, as the city is finally getting recognition for its sporting achievement. Not only are the Raptors experiencing their greatest period of success since their inception in 1995, The Toronto Blue Jays provide strong representation in the MLB, as do the Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL.

The Raptors don’t have quite the rich history as the Blue Jays or the Maple Leafs, but in the years to come they could become recognized as one of the dominant teams in the NBA Eastern Division. Toronto FC, playing in the MLS, are the youngest of Toronto’s teams playing in national leagues and don’t have any titles to their name yet. But they also look to be growing in force and could be challenging the best teams in the near future.

Toronto is receiving wider recognition for its sporting prowess year by year, and a good run in the playoffs by Toronto Raptors could cement the city on the map as a force to be reckoned with, not only in ice hockey and baseball, but in basketball as well.

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