For all practical purposes this series is over, the chance of a Raptors series win is 1.69% since only 2 out of 118 teams have come back to win after taking a a 3-1 deficit on the road. I can also guarantee you that those two teams didn’t have a defense that could be broken down by a simple pump-fake at the three point line, nor did they get cold feet with less than 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, it is what it is, the Raptors in a truly “must win” game. It’ll be a chance to see if this team finally leaves it all on the floor and plays with that passion, grittiness and intensity that’s been lacking all season. Desperate times call for desperate measures so if nothing else we’ll see which of these Raptors desperately wants to win.

Jamario Moon is good to go so the Raptors will be putting out the same lineup that’s kept them in it for two games in a row. The deciding factors will be the same as they have been all series, preventing their G/F’s from breaking us down and picking out shooters along with closing out said shooters when the defense does collapse. Boxing out Dwight Howard should be a no-brainer and a given but given how poorly the Raptors have covered him on the defensive boards in this series, it’s probably a good idea that Sam Mitchell make this priority #1 on the old blackboard. I think at this point in the series both teams know what they need to do to win and its a question of execution.

In the same article linked above Chris Bosh is quoted as saying:

“We can’t rely on three-pointers, that doesn’t get you [far] in the playoffs. We know that.”

It’s a nice enough thought but the three-pointer is what this team is built on, if they’re going in we’ll have a shot at winning but if we’re shooting them at less than 30%, we’re going to lose. Plain and simple. It’s not as if though we have any wing players that can drive the ball effectively if the chucks aren’t falling. Anthony Parker needs three screens to get anywhere, Delfino can drive but will he choose to is a different matter and Jamario Moon’s taken it to the rim once all series. Asking these guys to play inside-out is like asking a pitcher to play the DH. So the Raptors better hope their threes are falling because they don’t have anything else to fall back on.

To bust out a cliche from the old cliche vault, we got to take it one game at a time. Sam Mitchell expects to bring the series back to Toronto but doesn’t specify exactly how he might do that. He’s basically optimistic because he believes that the Magic’s lead in the series is mostly attributable to a few key shots. The man does have a point there but isn’t every NBA game decided by a few key shots. There’s nothing that’ll make me believe that we’re going to be the team that’s going to hit those “key shots”.

If you’re made it this far into the post you obviously think the Raptors have some chance of winning this game. Here’s your reward for being a loyal Raptors fan.

Apparently you can’t get Bill Simmons to watch the Raptors-Magic series:

I love hoops as much as anyone and still can’t bring myself to watch the Magic-Raptors series. It’s like the NIT of the NBA playoffs. Does the winner even matter? They should call it “The NBA-TV Invitational” and give the winner a trophy that’s sculpted into the shape of Rick Kamla’s face.

Haha funny-man. Now go fuck yourself. I hope pray that the Atlanta Hawks swallow a barrel full of Red Bull and beat his Celtics, it would almost make up for the Raptors. One man’s misery is another man’s joy and right now my joy is any man’s misery.

What are the chances we win the PG matchup in Game 5? You’d have to think Jose’s not going to stink it up again and will play with that Spanish passion that he only reserves for his wife (left). TJ Ford had a great game 4 which means he might just end up going 2-11 tonight, hopefully he can make life a little harder for Jameer Nelson and force Nelson to have a Game 3 type evening. I’m going to skip talking about Hedo/Lewis because we simply don’t have an answer for them. We can however neutralize Howard’s influence on the boards if we decide to take him seriously. While Rasho or Bargnani are on the floor all they should be concerned with is boxing out Howard – nothing else! I don’t care if Bargnani has 0 points and Rasho has 6 fouls, just KEEP. HOWARD. OFF. THE. GLASS. Please!

If we had given Andrea Bargnani’s minutes to Kris Humphries, this might’ve been a different series. Just consider Game 2 where a single rebound was the difference between 1-1 and 0-2. How many rebounds did Bargnani have in that game? 1.

It goes without saying that either Chris Bosh needs to have a monster evening or the bench must go for 45+. If one of the two don’t happen we’re doomed. I think Kapono will carry his weight, its going to be up to Carlos to have one of those nights where you might even entertain the thought of bringing him back next year. We haven’t seen much of Humphries, maybe he can give us something against Marcin Gortat (who scares the living shit out of Bosh)? Joey Graham might have an offensive arsenal that rivals Hoffa but he can still play some defense, I implore Sam to put him on Hedo or Rashard and see how far he gets. If they score on him, yank him but at least give him a shot. The man has the physical strength to fend off Hedo/Lewis, just test him out, he could be useful.

Realistically speaking, we got too many defensive problems and not enough fourth quarter offense to beat the Magic on the road. It’ll almost take a couple career nights from the Raptors or a seriously pathetic game from Orlando for us to win this one, but stranger things have happened. Haven’t they? I don’t know, its just another cliche I suppose.

Let’s just dig in on defense, try to move without the ball and knock down our perimeter jumpers and hopefully we can eek out a win and go from there. Who knows, maybe the Magic will come out complacent and cough one up at home. It’s too late to talk about technicalities and strategies, just win, baby!

Tags: , , , , , , ,