Raptors will have to go through DeRozan, Lowry to make playoffs
The Toronto Raptors will be fighting for their season tonight in a matchup against former team star DeMar DeRozan and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference 9/10 play-in tournament matchup.
But by way of the Miami Heat’s 116-105 loss last night to the Atlanta Hawks in the 7/8 seed matchup, they could be facing off against another franchise legend in Kyle Lowry later this week.
Should the Raptors come out victorious tonight, they’ll be heading into another do-or-die contest this Friday against the Heat in Miami, with the winner advancing to the playoffs as the #8 seed to face off against the Milwaukee Bucks.
And while his team didn’t come out victorious last night, the 37-year-old Lowry picked up 33 points on Tuesday night — his highest point total through two seasons with the Heat.
“This is the time of the year I want to be firing, just trying to help the team no matter what,” Lowry said after last night’s loss.
“We’ve got an opportunity to redeem ourselves Friday, and we’re looking forward to that,” Lowry added.
As for DeRozan, he’s continued to show love for his first NBA city, where he spent nine seasons.
“I was a kid when I came. I didn’t know a damn thing about nothing. My whole understanding of being an adult started here, being a father, understanding how to be a professional basketball player,” DeRozan said earlier today, per TSN’s Josh Lewenberg. “Just a genuine connection from day one.”
Why is DeMar's bond with Toronto so strong?
"I was a kid when I came. I didnt know a damn thing about nothing. My whole understanding of being an adult started here, being a father, understanding how to be a professional basketball player… Just a genuine connection from Day 1" pic.twitter.com/mTC4m3yDzF
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 12, 2023
“The atmosphere is going to feel like it’s an Eastern Conference finals game in a Play-In game. So it’s definitely going to be crazy. Driving to the arena, walking through the arena, you’re definitely going to feel it. That’s the beauty of that place, those fans. And any competitor would want to be a part of that,” DeRozan told reporters earlier this week.
But even though DeRozan has a chance to play spoiler in Toronto’s quest to return to the postseason, he doesn’t feel like it’ll impact his legacy should his Bulls come out on top.
“I would never be a villain in Toronto,” he added.
Tipoff between the Raptors and Bulls is set for 7 pm tonight, with the game being broadcast on TSN.