The 2016-2017 Toronto Raptors finished 5 games worse than the record-setting 2015-2016 season, yet the 51-31 mark was 2nd best in Raptors history. The 2017 Raptors start the NBA playoffs as the #3 seed hosting the #6 seed Milwaukee Bucks.
We all remember that the Raptors made the Eastern Conference finals last season, but Toronto struggled in the first 2 rounds, beating the Indiana Pacers and then the Miami Heat, both in a Game 7. In fact, Toronto has never won a playoff series that went less than the maximum number of games.
This is the 4th year in a row that the Toronto Raptors are in the NBA playoffs, a new team record. The Raptors previous high streak was 3 years between 2000-2002.
If the Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers advance, the teams will meet in a rematch in Round 2, not the Eastern Conference finals. Boston finished as the #1 Eastern Conference seed.
2017 NBA Playoffs
|(3) Toronto vs. (6) Milwaukee|
|Date||Location||Time||U.S. TV||Cdn TV|
|April 15||at Toronto||5:30p||ESPN||SN1|
|April 18||at Toronto||7p||NBA TV||TSN|
|April 20||at Milwaukee||8p||NBA TV||TSN|
|April 22||at Milwaukee||3p||TNT||SN|
|April 24||at Toronto+||7p||NBA TV||TSN|
|April 27||at Milwaukee+||TBD||TBD||SN|
|April 29||at Toronto+||TBD||TBD||TSN|
Times are Eastern Daylight
+ if needed
The Raptors held a 3-1 regular season advantage, 2-0 in Toronto over the Bucks. Toronto won 105-99 in Milwaukee on November 25; the Raptors had home wins 122-100 (December 12) and 102-86 (January 27). The lone loss came March 4 in Milwaukee when the Bucks won 101-94.
In the previous 3 years, the Toronto Raptors were stuck with a ridiculous 12:30 pm playoff starting time for Game 1. The Raptors went 0-3 in those early afternoon starts. This year, the team drew a more sensible 5:30 pm start. Toronto sports fans will have to juggle the end of Game 1 for the Raptors and the start of Game 2 for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the traditional Hockey Night in Canada slot.
TSN draws the edge in the opening round over Rogers Sportsnet. TSN will have the call on Games 2-3, 5, and 7 while Rogers Sportsnet has the coverage on Games 1, 4, and 6. Sportsnet will have the edge in round 2.
How well Kyle Lowry will do so soon after coming back from a wrist injury may determine the Raptors fate this spring. Lowry leads the team with 192 from beyond the 3-point arc, leading the team despite missing 21 games. Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are the guard tandem that stirs the Raptors drink.
Toronto Raptors playoff record
photo credit: Benny Sieu/USA Today