All season the Toronto Raptors have been clinging to that four-game stretch in late February when they looked like the kind of team that could beat anyone in the NBA.
For weeks they've talked about how they've held their own this season against the NBA's best teams, coming away with victories against the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Denver Nuggets. Now it's time to put that theory to the test. Starting Thursday the Raptors will run the West Coast gauntlet with games against Denver, Utah, and both Los Angeles teams. It'll be an exhausting make-or-break stretch of the season with just 10 games to go.
As things sit Thursday morning, the Raptors are two games back of the Washington Wizards for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. It'll take a miracle to overcome Washington, but if miracles do happen, Toronto needs one to happen pretty soon.
The Raptors have made the trip without Chris Boucher and Paul Watson Jr. who have remained in Tampa and the Raptors will be without Gary Trent Jr. for Thursday night's game against the Nuggets.
Denver has won seven of its last nine games, but coming off a close game Wednesday night, the Nuggets sit as 2.5-point favourites against the Raptors, according to Covers. That spread was once as high as -4.5 or -5 at some books but has fallen pretty significantly to -2.5 to -3 for some reason. No injury report has been released for Denver yet.
After Thursday, Toronto will make the short flight over to Utah to take on the Jazz.