Bargnani defending the paint while everyone else watches.

They got Cheese Steaks and clean up after our drafting messes, but they don’t have any damn pirates, which the Raptors can be thankful for. I was half wrong about Philly at the start of the year; I pegged them for a 50 win team ahead of the Raps (who I thought would be hovering a few games over .500). With their young wings, Dalembert and Evans up front; I really thought the addition of Brand would put them over the top. At the end of the day I’m just happy it wasn’t BC giving someone a massive contract, coming off an injury plagued season who was supposed to make this the best team ever assembled. Oh wait…

These guys have split the first two games of the season, each trading double-digit wins. Unlike, say…a pirate who TAKES what he wants when that proverbial well of his comes up dry, without giving anything in return. That first game was rather frustrating, if you remember, as Brand and Dalembert combined for 30 rebounds, almost out-rebounding the entire Raptor team. Rebounding is still an issue with the Raps, even though Marion was brought in to partly address our rebounding at the wing position (he was also supposed to score and play defense on the opposing teams best wing, but none of those is really happening either).

Philly is in the midst of a 5 game stretch of winnable games (they’ve already lost to the Thunder, but we share that same shame), before they embark on a 5 game Western swing. Surprisingly, they are 12-12 against the West (a distinction we don’t share). Over the last 10, they have been an upsetting 3-7. However, they are 30-31, good for 7th in the East (their fans don’t have to bow their heads in shame). Reggie Evans chimed in with a gem:

Every game is a must-win, if you ask me, It’s March now, so you can start to see people dialing it up a little bit.

Wish the Raptors would dial it up. It’s quotes like that which have made Evans a favourite here at RR, Arse was screaming for him before last season. Seems like the 7 games that separate the Raptors and 76ers is much greater when role-players are saying these sorts of things, and our franchise player doesn’t care to define losses.

Bada-boom, bada-bing.

Winning for the Raptors has literally degenerated to something that merely halts 5, 6 or 7 game losing streaks. Pirates use the same tactics when surrounded by authority, they steal, cheat, annoy, and do anything to get things going in their favour.

Our beloved The Raptors are in the middle of a stretch of interesting games themselves: one crushing defeat after the other. Each worse then the previous one. Each one forcing our franchise player out the door inch-by-inch. They are 3-7 in their last 10, on a 5 game losing streak, 23-41 overall, but the really upsetting part is that they don’t even have a top 5 pick in the lottery. This is similar to what one feels when they have created a piece of art, free for all to use and enjoy; then a bloody pirate steals it, generates 25,000 hits from it, and makes $2.50 in ad revenue.

Needless to say, they will be jockeying for playoff position (no one wants Boston/Cleveland 1st round), so expect the wings to attack from all angles, the bigs to bang hard in the blocks and the PGs to be aggressive off the hop. Should be a hoot.

Checking in with the Sixers dancers, nice bunch, not skanky hot, but a “I’ve peeked through your bedroom window everyday” hot. My pick is Diedre, a first year dancer who is studying to become a lawyer at Villanova (I’m a huge Big East fan). Once again, just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re smart: for some reason Diedre thinks fans wouldn’t expect her to be a cheer leading squad coach, much like a pirate who may have his own blog, and it’s updated regularly, doesn’t mean he has something interesting to say (unless he plunders other folks wares and pawns them off). Down to business, or as a pirate would say, ARRR MATEY…

Injury Report

Raptors
Kris Humphries  (doesn’t matter since Pops is killing it)

76ers
Elton Brand (doesn’t hurt as much as one would think)
Jason Smith (hurts much more then losing Brand)

Matchups

Calderon vs Miller
The Edge: Miller -
Easily. It has nothing to do with Jose being injured, or that he sucks…Miller has been on a rampage the last 10 games, averaging 20.3pts and 5.9ast. Jose on the other hand has been producing 10.7pts and 8.7ast a game, not bad, but not great either.

Q: What does Calderon have in common with a Pirate?
A: Spanish fishermen have been plundering St. John’s fishing industry for years now…respecting international water borders my *ss.

Parker vs Green
The Edge: Parker -
Green seems like a younger Parker if you ask me. Talented, but not capable of bringing it every single-day. Green lit us up for 17 last time, but has been wildly inconsistent all season. The Thunder kept him to 2 points, so you know he will be motivated. Parker on the other hand has been playing really well. If you don’t considering the Houston game, he is averaging 17.8pts and 6ast a game over the last 6.

Q: What does Parker have in common with a Pirate?
A: He has a hot wench of  a sister.

Marion vs Iguodala
The Edge: Even -
Marion has to be over his flu by now, and Iggy played like doo-doo against the Thunder. I’m really looking forward to this battle as both these guys like to run, take it off the hop and attack the basket. Should be an exciting match-up.

Q: What does Marion have in common with a Pirate?
A: You can’t understand either when they speak.

Bosh vs Young
The Edge: Bosh -
CB4 has dropped 30 in two straight games, playing some of his best ball all season. He has scored in the lane, from the perimeter, at the line and even dropped a trey. Young has always been a tough player for the Raptors to handle. Wont be an easy cover for Bosh, but Young will have more then his hands full on the defensive end.

Q: What does Bosh have in common with a Pirate?
A: He’s the Black Jack Sparrow.

Bargnani vs Dalembert
The Edge: VL -
Why not…Dalembert wont have his fan boy cheering him on, and he’s not much of an offensive force, but he will be a beast on the boards and on the defensive end. VL hasn’t been utilized properly in the 4th quarter the last few games, but that’s more an organizational problem then something he has to deal with (although it would be nice if he demanded the ball mroe).

Q: What does Bargnani have in common with a Pirate?
A: Christopher Columbus, the original gangster – he raped and pillaged the American Indians.

The Line

VegasInsider.com has a spread of Philly -6.5 to -7.

Prediction

I’m going against the grain on this one. The Raptors have lost 5 games in a row, Philly thinks this is a winnable game, expectations are low, and that is where the Raptors excel: when they are lower on the totem pole then a pirate. Raps by 4.

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(often imitated, but never duplicated)

We don’t care for pirates here at RR, we may not have stirred the pot, be we will settle the score, bet the federation on it.

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