Raptors do matter

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

The Raptors are not making the playoffs, but they can impact the post-season seedings in their final two games of the season.

The Raptors play host to the Indiana Pacers tonight and face the Bulls in Chicago Wednesday night. Both of those teams are in a tightly-contested race with the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks for spots five through eight in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The Bulls' win over the Miami Heat yesterday ended outside bids from the Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot, meaning Chicago, Milwaukee, Indiana and Washington will duke it out for the right not to face the favoured Detroit Pistons (top seeds) or Heat (second seed) in the first round.

The fifth-place finisher will battle the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the sixth seed will take on the New Jersey Nets.

LOTTERY BALLS

It's official. The Raptors will finish the season with the fifth-worst record in the NBA, meaning they are looking good for a top five pick in the draft lottery next month.

An internet report yesterday, from draftexpress.com, said LSU forward Tyrus Thomas is expected to announce today he is entering the NBA draft.

PLAY BALL

Raptors star Chris Bosh doesn't want the team's young players simply putting up shots in the gym this summer. He thinks they would be far better off playing in games against high-level competition.

"I'm a big believer in playing games makes you better ... I tell everybody that," Bosh said. "You have a defender in front of you instead of a chair (or) nobody at all. Sometimes, shooting by yourself is good conditioning. But it's nobody in front of you, your eyes are not working, it's not exercise for your mind for five-on-five. It's good to get up shots by yourself, but playing is so much better."

BRIEFLY

The Denver Post reports that the expansion Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League are interested in talking to Raptors scout Mike Evans as a coaching candidate.


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