If you'll recall, the Playoff Odds weren't ready to pencil in the Raptors as a postseason team even when they were 31-24 because of a difficult late-season schedule. . . .
This was partly attributable to not having Chris Bosh in the lineup for a few games because of an ankle injury, but the Raps struggled even upon his return. Toronto somehow lost at home to Philadelphia on Sunday in a game that wasn't terribly close, and while it competed more gamely in Los Angeles on Tuesday, the result was the same. Toronto still must visit Portland, New Orleans, Cleveland, Atlanta, Miami and Charlotte. Plus, the Raptors have five difficult home games remaining (Atlanta, Oklahoma City, Utah, Denver and Boston).
Despite the difficult schedule, Toronto has a 75 percent chance at the postseason, according to Wednesday morning's Playoff Odds. The Raps already own the tiebreaker against Chicago, which should provide some insulation if they lose a key late-season game against the Bulls on April 11. But at some point, Toronto will need to beat a few good teams. If the Raptors only take care of the bad teams and knock off Chicago at home, they'll finish 41-41, which is a bit too close for comfort.
As a result, the most likely scenario is a battle between Toronto and Chicago for the East's final playoff spot. It's not exactly a riveting race at the moment -- the two sides have combined to lose 11 of 12 -- but at least one of them should be at .500 by the time the music stops. The game between the two April 11 in Toronto now looms as the most likely to determine which of the East's playoff contenders lands in the lottery.