Staff Writer: Ryan Ward
The NBA playoffs are just around the corner in both conferences have all but wrapped up the playoff spots and potential playoff matchups, but there is one spot left to be filled in the Eastern conference as the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls battle it out for the eighth spot in a first-round matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
All season long the Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors have been extremely streaky teams and sometimes they look like they could be great teams, but then just seemed to implode and dropped the ball the most crucial moment.
There is no doubting that the Toronto Raptors and the Chicago Bulls can be a dominant team in the Eastern conference, but they still have a ways to go before they can compete with the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic or the Boston Celtics.
There’s only a handful games left in the season and the Raptors are ahead in the race for the last playoff spot in the NBA, but they took a huge blow recently when the Raptors best player in Chris Bosh was smacked in the face of an elbow against the Cleveland Cavaliers and was sent directly to the hospital.
The injury wasn’t as serious as it sounds, but he still sustained a broken nose which could drastically change his play during the last games of the regular season and into the playoffs.
With that being said the Chicago Bulls now have the best opportunity to try and clinch the final spot in the East and set up the matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.
Obviously no one wants to face the Cleveland Cavaliers and the first round as they are arguably the best team in the league right now with the best record heading into the playoffs, but getting into the postseason and going home two completely different things and sometimes the barometer of success of an NBA season.
Along with the Toronto Raptors fighting for their playoff lives and hoping Chris Bosh gets better, they are also concerned about the future of the franchise as their All-Star forward could be on his way to a different team this summer when he becomes a free agent on July 1st.
The one team that constantly gets mentioned many big name free agent gets in the conversation is the New York Knicks as they will have the most money to spend than any other team in the NBA this summer and will be going after some pretty big fish when they get the opportunity.
If the Toronto Raptors do not make the playoffs it might be a fairly big loss to the team as they might have played their last game with Chris Bosh in the lineup and it might be right back to the drawing board for a team on the brink of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern conference.