July 23, 2024

Toronto can play spoiler…to the Celtics!—to end its inaugural In-Season Tournament!

Anyone up for a conspiracy theory about the Raptors?

Each team was given assignments for 80 of their 82 games when the schedule was made public. The In-Season Tournament would decide the final two games. More precisely, the opponents a team played in the final two games would depend on their performance in the round-robin.

Every team is in charge of its own fate, including shortening the schedule!

The Toronto Raptors were unable to proceed to the In-Season Tournament’s quarterfinals or knockout round after dropping two games. Hence, Toronto will (presumably) face easier competition as opposed to two or three of the NBA’s hottest teams.

Depending on the point differential, winning three of the four round-robin games might not be sufficient to move on, but winning just two games has already shown to be insufficient. What if Toronto’s strategy has always been that? Even without OG Anunoby, the Raptors performed well enough to defeat the Celtics. It’s possible that the Orlando Magic’s lopsided defeat was planned.

The Raptors will play two games against (possibly) the Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, and/or Cleveland Cavaliers in place of two against teams like the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, or Boston Celtics. A better prize (a guaranteed postseason berth, perhaps?) will have to be seriously considered by the NBA if it intends to continue holding the In-Season Tournament; otherwise, more teams will be willing to accept a second loss in exchange for two easier games.

*Although I don’t really believe what I just wrote, it’s encouraging to know that Toronto might have two games that can be won next week.

 

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