There’s no Sunday game which means we won’t be hearing how teams hate playing us at the ACC so early because it’s 2AM or something ridiculous their time. Of course they end up kicking our ass thus poking a huge hole in the theory that we have some sort of advantage on Sundays. The Raps will be checking out the Super Bowl; A while back Chris Bosh hinted that he might fly to Atlanta to be on the Best Damn Sports Show and catch the game with “the guys” but I doubt he’s the type who’ll truly enjoy shooting the shit with John Salley and his hormones. I remember a few years ago somebody asked Chris what he likes to do in his spare time and he answered something like, “I like going to websites and seeing how their made, they’re pretty neat”. Bear in mind that I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea, he goes to websites and does a “View Source” on them just to check out the HTML. My kind of guy.
While we’re all hard at work trying to erase the Laker memories, there’s something that might help, it’s our February schedule. If you thought January was easy, then February is a piece of cake. The Laker game was easily the toughest of the month and from here on in, games get easy and winnable, let’s run through them and assign a reasonable result.
- Feb 1 LA: Kobe, L
- Feb 4 @Mia: Miami’s goal is to not get blown out by 30, if they only lose by 15 it counts as a moral victory.
- Feb 8 LAC: We beat them on their home floor, there’s no reason we can’t repeat the feat at home.
- Feb 10 @Min: Worst team in the league.
- Feb 11 SA: The Spurs will be without Tony Parker but even then you have to bet against the Raptors here. Plus it’s a back-to-back.
- Feb 13 NJ: Jason Kidd might not even be on the team by then and even if he is, this is a very winnable game.
- Feb 20 Orl: We lost to them last time after Sam took out the hot-shooting Calderon for the ice-cold Ford with 3 minutes left. Game over. Let’s say Orlando wins this one after Howard snatches 16 offensive rebounds.
- Feb 22 @NY: Knicks aren’t playing thaaat bad, they did win a couple games a few weeks ago. They should be counted on sneaking one of these two games as the Raptors are fully capable of having a letdown.
- Feb 24 NY: See above.
- Feb 25 @Ind: Indiana’s coming on of late and I thought we were a little lucky to eek out a win in Indiana last time. I see the Raptors dropping one of the two games.
- Feb 27 Min: This is a win, if it’s not, heads need to roll.
- Feb 29 Ind: See above.
So speaking really conservatively, in the worst case we’ll go 7-5 this month which would put us at 7 games over .500 at 32-25 and possibly on our way of repeating last year’s win total. However, if we manage to sweep Indiana and New York, we’ll be at 34-23 needing to go 14-11 from there on out to eclipse last year’s win total. What I’m trying to hammer home is that barring further injury and steady improvement we’re going to have a pretty good regular season when it’s all said and done. So despite consistently losing to the better teams in the league, at the end of the regular season we’ll be considered one of the better teams in the league. Ironic, eh?
With the deadline approaching it’s no secret that we’re in need of a rebounder worse than Stromile Swift is of a college education. Opponent offensive rebounding along with perimeter defense has been a consistent reason of why we’re losing games. While it’s hard to address the latter, rebounding help is available and teams such as Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and possibly Golden State can be convinced to give up a part. Of course when you’re looking for quality in a barter, you have to give up quality….wait…you don’t, Memphis just made us look like we won the Vince Carter deal. Seriously though, if we have any hopes of winning a playoff round, we need to upgrade our rebounding or we’re in troubling if we’re facing Cleveland, Washington or Orlando – three likely opponents. I think winning a playoff series or two is the measure of success for this season, otherwise it’ll be all for naught.
Andrea Bargnani kicked off Black History Month celebrations in style against the Lakers with a 28 point performance which came on the heels of a good Washington showing. Bargnani’s looking like someone who just might’ve turned the corner and is playing somewhat like the player we though he was. I’m looking forward to a couple games this month where he’s the dominant player on the floor, it’s happened once this season against the Celtics (in the first half) and given the soft schedule, this is the ideal time for him to flex his muscles. Nobody wants to see 1-9 FG performances from him because it just makes your blood boil, or in some peoples cases, brings out the greatest analogies, my favorite was commenter PsychicSpy referring to Bargnani as having “the demeanor of a waiter”, simply gold. Check it out. On an unrelated note, the event I’m most looking forward to on All-Star weekend is Andrea’s appearance in the rookie/sophomore game. He’ll stand out like Zan Tabak in an NBA team.
Hoops Hype is having some sort of a thing where you get to ask Dee Brown a question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I have a question, when his one-legged ass was hauled off the bench by Butch Carter late in the playoffs against the Knicks, did he know he was going to jack up a shot before the ball was even inbounded. It always irked me. Who’s Hoops Hype going to ask next to answer email? Rick Brunson? Sweet Pea Daniels? Carlos Rogers? Janero Pargo? Joe Wolf? Danny Schayes? Judd Buechler? Matt Maloney? Armon Gilliam? Blane Harrington?
Till tomorrow.Follow @raptorsrepublic