Break out the Red Bull and cocaine smoothies, the Happy Happy Fun Time American Speed Show is in town!
Sooooo…the Raps haven’t beaten Phoenix since Feb. 10, 2004. To put that in perspective, Chris Andersen was still in the NBA, we were winning the war on terror, and Britney Spears was still a virgin.
If only drugs didn’t get in the way of his career, there’s no telling how many dunks he could have missed. Just watch the drug-fueled fun!
(By the way, drugs, tattoos, mediocrity? he’s TOTALLY Britney’s type. Someone SMS cupid.)
But things have changed since then. Britney’s a whore, Chris Andersen’s a crackhead and the war, well…uh…but the Raptors have been revamped(!) thanks to ex-Sun son Bryan Colangelo. And like any Oedipal child, you know BC wants to beat his daddy’s team. It’s family tradition Mama Colangelo ( Joan to her friends, though Wikipedia refers to her confusingly as ‘Jemima’) promised a little extra self-tanning lotion in the Christmas stocking of the winner.
A quick look at the Suns, with their 177 wins in the past three seasons, their 14-4 record this year, and their six game winning streak, and I’m not impressed. So what? You think things like ‘consistency’ make for winning basketball? Looks to me like they have just as many rings on their fingers as the Raptors do.
(sidenote: Derrick Martin and Steve Nash have won the same number of championships. In related news, honey and semen are both sticky, but one tastes much better in your tea.)
Steve Nash’s semen, above, is actually 7/10ths Canadian Maple Syrup.
But if you think this matchup is formidable…you’re right. But it’s nowhere near insurmountable. It’s not like they’re holding your wife hostage atop an active volcano surrounded by a spiked fence and pirhana moat.
See, Toronto and Phoenix cut from the same mould, brainchilds of an accomplished father-son duo. Versatile, dynamic rosters that defy conventional basketball strategy. Crafty imports that frustrate opponents. Speed over clock control. Dead-eye shooting. The ability to build, then surrender a large lead.
Keep in mind, Phoenix has had three full seasons to work within this system, and we’re just getting started. And while it might seem troubling on the surface that our two top offensive options won’t be in uniform, don’t despair – Sam has a plan!!
Plans, plural! Way to go Sammy, though I’m not sure ‘make shots’ and ‘play hard’ count as plans.
Looking at our roster and matchups, we know this: TJ will play, but Jose will start. I expect we’ll see the same lineup as we did the other night, with TJ taking over DMart’s spot. Unless Sam does the RIGHT thing and play Dixon instead of Derrick Martin, TJ instead of Joey. Juan’s positive attributes could play a factor against the Suns, while his less desireable qualities, namely shot selection, is less of a concern in this style of game. Either way don’t expect to see Derrick Martin, who, out there amongst the speedsters and snipers, would look like a senile senior lost at their granddaughter’s Sweet Sixteen: Too loud, too fast, too much.
So how do we match up? What about this:
Jose on Bell
Parker on Nash
Jamario on Hill
Rasho on Amare
Our 4 on Marion
I think this makes sense, though there’s no scenario that really gives us a true advantage or mismatch. But I believe that without Bosh and Bargnani, there is hope. We’ll need contributions from the bench both to score and to bring energy, and with a night off our tanks should have a bit more fuel than the Suns’. Delfino, Kapono, and AP need to continue clicking from long range for us to keep up on the scoreboard, which is possible since Phoenix isn’t exactly known for their perimeter defence (yet another similarity).
– D’Antoni likes to get 70% of his shots up within the first 7 seconds of the shot clock. That means if they’re off, tired from their grueling game last night in Indy, there will be lots of rebounds and transition opportunities.
– Amare’s going to get to the line as much as he can. We do not have an answer for him. If we’re lucky, our weak side help can smolder the flames, but we’re going to get (at least a little) burned either way.
– Nash is the closest thing to playing a PG Supercomputer. It’s worth losing to watch him pick apart defenses like a James Frey novel.
– I have to watch the game on PVR when I get home just to slow it down and see Barbosa in action. He’s got more speed than Robert Downey Jr. (I was going to go with Al Unser Jr. Did I make the right decision?)
Girl Talk: Shawn Marion
If the internet said I fucked real good, I’d be smiling too.
Shawn Marion: Ugly jumpshot, but beautiful stroke. Anyway, first team to 115 wins.Follow @raptorsrepublic