Tonight's Raptors game could be an NBA Finals preview

Mar 9 2018, 5:32 pm

Could this be an NBA Finals preview?

The Houston Rockets are in town to face the Toronto Raptors in their second, and final, game of the regular season. If everything goes according to plan for both teams, they’ll be seeing each other again in June.

In a matchup of the two best teams in their respective conferences, this is most certainly a measuring stick game. The Raptors have proven their worth in the East. But how do they compare to the top team in a much more competitive Western Conference?

Houston, right now in particular, is the toughest test the Raptors could face. Riding a 17-game winning streak, James Harden and company have destroyed everyone in their path since the end of January.

The Raptors are no slouches either, having won 13 of their last 14 games, which included a win over the Boston Celtics – one of the NBA’s other championship contenders.

In their only other game of the season, the Raptors came out on top, beating the Rockets 129-113 November 14 in Houston. Harden has 38 points that night, while the Raptors had a more balanced attack, with DeMar DeRozan leading the way with just 27 points.

Tonight’s game has more than symbolic value too, as the Raptors are just two games up on Boston for first in the East, while Houston has just a 0.5-game lead over Golden State. Finishing first in the Conference is of extreme importance to Toronto, as it would mean avoiding Boston and Cleveland until the third round.

The Raptors will be wearing their ‘Welcome Toronto’ uniforms again tonight, while fans will likely receive these t-shirts, featuring Toronto’s pro sports teams (including the non-MLSE owned Blue Jays, which is interesting), as shown on Drake’s Instagram story.

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