It’s another early 12:30 start at home tomorrow. Anyone here think the Pacers are going to party late into the night tonight? Since I don’t go out clubbing anymore tell me where we should expect Ford & Co. to be seen tonight? (Hold on… AltRaps just told me he already saw them at the Rail a few hours ago and word is the entire team will be getting their grooves adjusted at For Your Eyes Only. Sounds like they have a plan!)
The last time the Pacers were in town, Arsenalist and I were at the game and we had a great time. Thanks to SkinnyP from the RealGM Raps board, he snuck us down to his “fan friendly” section behind the Raptors basket for the second half. While the vantage point behind the basket isn’t the best, section 104 is definitely the loudest and rowdiest section in the lower bowl, which has a lot to do with the Skinny “the human megaphone” P and his posse! Personally, when I go to games I’m all about making LOUD NOISE!!! And that night against the Pacers, Arse and I had a wicked time going the posse in chanting MURRR-PHHHY and JOOO-EYYYY and a bunch of other things that made the game experience so very enjoyable! However, I should mention that as hard as we tried to razz MUR-PHY, he was still able to score a huge 20-20 night in a losing cause, which saw also TJ Ford on the bench during crunch time! (BOH!)
Another thing that has to be pointed out is Jim O’Brien stance of coaching – down. It’s a statuesque pose that’s deserving of labeling him a nick-name. (I’ll let our readers contribute some suggestions).
As far as providing any in-depth analysis for tomorrow’s game against the Pacers, what’s there really to say?
The Pacers are still in the hunt for the last seed. They’re only 1 ½ games out. They’re riding a two-game losing streak and are 9-27 on the road. They’ll be without they’re two of their best players due to injuries, all-star Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy. Although there is a chance that Granger might actually play.
Looking at the Raptors, they’ll continue to play to the best of their abilities, which is their standardized post-game response this season. That’s the sad thing about this year’s team. Their record can’t be blamed on injuries. Regardless of our running joke here about not Jose being 100% healthy, every starter in the league is probably not 100% during the final 20-game stretch of the season.
The mass media can say that the team has “performed terribly” this season, which is a polite and professional way of saying that the team “sucks” this year. No matter what words all us in the Raptors fan community choose to use to describe the 2008-2009 Toronto Raptors, they’re as accurate as the team’s overall record.
-Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Calderon vs. Ford
The Edge: Ford — Since Granger’s been injured, Ford has been the focal point of the Pacers offense. He’ll be running the floor like his usual self and will be looking to take Jose one-on-one as often has possible. Ford ego will be stoked for an offensive stroking against his former back-up. Calderon may say he’s feeling better, but he won’t be able to keep Ford in front of him, and the Raps help defense (see Bargs) will not be quick enough to keep Ford from scoring and creating in the paint. Ford will be finishing plays at the rim as often as he’ll be finding Murphy and Jack open behind the arc. For Jose, his only advantage will be finding Marion and Co. in transition, but that’ll depend entirely on the Pacers shooting percentage.
Parker vs. Jack
The Edge: Jack – Statistically, Jack is having a pretty good season. However, with Granger out, Jack’s been starting at the 2 where he’s expected to play without the ball, which isn’t his comfort zone. There’s nothing special about Jack’s playmaking or shooting, but he’s been a consistent offensive contributor for the Pacers. The same can’t be said about Parker. While Parker should be able to keep Jack in check, things could get silly for Parker if he’s going to be counted on to leave Jack to provide help defense for Jose all day.
Marion vs. Daniels
The Edge: Marion — This appears to be a mismatch, and it is. Daniels is the better ball-handler, but Marion’s size and quickness will effectively counter anything Daniels brings at him. If the Pacers shoot a low percentage, it’ll result in a big time game for Marion. He should dominate the glass on both ends and execute more fast-break opportunities. Marion should have a double-double with a few steals and a few blocks, which will make both his team owners and fantasy owners happy.
Bosh vs. Murphy
The Edge: MUR-PHY — This will be an interesting match-up for Bosh. Will he be able to beat Mur-Phy on the boards? Mur-Phy is a very strong defensive rebounder. And since Mur-Phy is a proven three-point scoring threat will Bosh be willing to extend himself far outside the painted area on defense? Even though Bosh will get as many points and rebounds as he’s averaging, I think Mur-Phy will have another subtle but effective impact on the outcome of this game.
Bargnani vs. Hibbert
The Edge: Bargnani – Even though Bargnani is getting over the flu, this could be a monster game against “the guy we drafted and gave away”. Hibbert is a rookie. He’s big and he’s strong. But he’s slow with his feet and not at all experienced at guarding players outside the paint. I want to see Bargnani mix it up by starting the game hitting a couple of open threes. If he does, Hibbert’s going to try to guard him, at which point Bargnani should show him a pump-fake and a quick first-step. Hibbert’s going to get in foul trouble and isn’t going to get much burn. He’s completely overmatched against Bargnani. Technically, this match-up should actually be Bargnani vs. Foster (aka: Michael Keaton).
Raptors Dance Pack vs. Pacemates
The Edge: Pacemates – The Pacemates have quality beauty at every position. I’m singling out Jarin who is also a 1st grade teacher. I think she’s going to single-handedly establish an entire generation of teacher’s pets. That being said, she’s my muse of today’s Raptors pre-game theme song.
VegasInsider.com doesn’t have an overnight line. The “JBR Line” is Raptors by 2.
Take the Raptors. The simple fact is that every losing streak eventually comes to an end. Since we traded TJ, the Raps haven’t been Ford Tough but they’ll be that on Sunday.
Follow us on Twitter.Follow @raptorsrepublic