For every peak there’s a valley. November is tough but life will get easier, not by much, but thing will even out for the team and we’ll have a chance at netting a respectable record provided we beat the teams we’re supposed to beat. Yes, that’s a loaded sentence since what the definition of a team we’re “supposed to beat” is up in the air, here’s an attempt at classifying our competition.
Boston: As much as it pains me to say this, we’ll be lucky to eek out a single win against them. They’re too disciplined and play too hard for the Raptors. Unless a couple Raps have monster games and we have a strong defensive display, I don’t see us doing anything against them. Remember, one strong half doesn’t count for anything. 1-3.
Philadelphia: A team we dropped two to in pre-season but have historically done well (by our standards, 26-27 all-time). This year they have Brand healthy and have addressed the outside shooting with Kapono, who is a far better fit there than here. They’re also top three in the league in athleticism. 2-2.
New York: The Knicks are waiting for Lebron and didn’t make any big moves this summer. If last year’s Craptors team could go 2-2 against them, no reason to think we can’t do better this time around. David Lee, you’ve been served. 3-1.
New Jersey: We lost both our home games to them in close affairs and one won which came down to the wire at the swamp. You might remember Brook Lopez going to town on Jermaine O’Neal once or twice, it was quite amusing. And sad. If we can’t win three games against them this year we need to be relegated. 3-1.
Cleveland: I’m going to go out on a limb and say we’re going to beat them twice this season. They got Shaq over the summer but that’s about it, I don’t consider Parker or Moon upgrades, not even over Wally. We’ll win on Wednesday, you heard it here first. Plus, we’re bound to win one at home, Bosh will make sure of that, if not him, his cousin will step up. Remember, we went 2-2 against an NBA finals team last year so beating a great team on occasion isn’t out of character. 2-2.
Chicago: Quick point guards scare me and Derrick Rose is quick. Although you can make a good case that they got weaker over the summer by letting Gordon go, they still have big men who can bang and two wing scorers who can score. I still expect the Raptors to get the two wins at home, no Chuck Swirskly close-up on the ACC scoreboard please. 2-1
Detroit: Much like the Raptors, the Pistons could be really good or really bad. They got more offensive minded by adding Ben Gordon and Charlie V but those two don’t play a lick of defense. The men to fear are Tayshaun Prince and Rip Hamilton who make their living by playing the Raptors. Lose 1-3.
Indiana: Danny Granger’s talent, T.J. Ford lingering motivations for revenge and Troy Murphy having a 20-20 game will result in Indiana taking two games they have no business winning. 2-2.
Milwaukee: We haven’t ever swept the Bucks so no reason to think that’s going to happen, unless of course Roko Ukic starts playing 48 minutes for them. Bogut, Gadzuric and Elson add depth to the big man rotation but the guard play is weak with Redd the only one to worry about. Luc Mbah a Moute’s an up and comer but other than him, they’re relying on Charlie Bell and Carlos Delfino. Make-up costs more in Wisconsin, bet Delfino didn’t take that into account during contract negotiations. 2-1.
Orlando: Usually we manage to play well against them with the whole Bosh/Howard thing, even last year we split our season series but now that they’ve got Vince, he’ll make sure that doesn’t happen. The Raptors win one game, that too in Orlando when Vince is taking a night off looking up pictures of old high school flames on his iPhone. 1-3.
Atlanta: We went 1-3 last year and no reason to think this year will be different. Historically, we’ve always played close games against them and there’s no doubt this series will present a few chances for our vaunted wing defender Antoine Wright to go up against Joe Johnson. The Hawks are in a better position to win a first round series than us. 1-3.
Miami: The Heat are the only team that takes their media day pics all pimped out. Another team that’s gearing up for Bosh, they tried to offload Beasley in the summer but want to hang on to Joel Anthony? Doesn’t make sense. It’ll be good fun to laugh at JO again. Raps win three laughers. 3-1.
Charlotte: Gerald Wallace morphed into Superman the last couple times we played them. Felton and Augustin will be a load to handle and so will Chandler and Diaw, the latter ate up Bosh last year. You can make a case that they’re more talented than the Raptors and I see the record reflecting that, mostly because of their two home games….everybaaaddyyy claap youuuur haands. 1-2.
Washington: X-Factors R Us. Jamison injured, Arenas mentally injured and Caron Butler off and on injured. Will Andray Blatche amount to something? Will Nick Young continue his progress? Will anybody in DC care if they move to Helsinki, Finland? The Raps have two home games and I think what you saw in the pre-season game of the Wizards looked about right. 3-0.
Denver: You know how they say you should always focus on the next game and never look ahead to your next opponent. Yeah, Denver does that the night before they’re playing us. 0-2.
Portland: Home team wins both games, last season we lost 98-97 at the ACC after screwing up the last minute or so. This year we don’t screw up, we make amends. This will be the year Bargnani proves hs #1 pick worth. Not. 1-1.
Utah: The Jazz have swept us the last four years and the games haven’t exactly been close. At best we can go 1-1 but let’s be conservative and realistic. 0-2.
Minnesota: No, we will not lose to them again. If we do, I’ll quit RR. 2-0.
OKC: Nick Collison got the better of Bosh on a crucial rebound last year. I don’t think Bosh has forgotten. The game in OKC should be a dandy, I heard that home crowd is louder than the ACC after Marcus Banks knocks a FT down to make it 122-100 Lakers. 2-0.
LA Lakers: Come for Kobe, stay for the blowout, maybe we’ll touch a 100. 0-2.
Phoenix: We’ve been getting swept here for five years now. The home game is somewhat close but Nash usually comes through. This year we break the streak. 1-1.
Golden State: I was going to go 2-0 here this year if it weren’t for the home date being our fourth game in six nights. Stephen Jackson will be guarding Chris Bosh in this game. Book it. 1-1.
LA Clippers: It doesn’t matter if Blake Griffin is injured or not, we have no business losing to the Clippers. 2-0.
Sacramento: See Clippers. 2-0.
San Antonio: Surprisingly, we’ve gone .500 against them the last two seasons. On paper, they win both games but let the tribal honker in me pick the Raptors for a W. The home games’ a Matt Bonner night which should tell you how low our standards are when giving people their own nights. Word through the grapevine is that Dion Glover will be getting his own night too. 1-1.
Houston: As we saw, Houston is a solid team, but they’re not as good as we made them out to look. We’re a not-so-terrible 11-16 against them all-time and I’ll play the percentages. 10 bucks Yao stays on the Houston bench all season long. 1-1.
Dallas: We have one win in the last five years. Wishful thinking says the Raptors pull one out at home after last year’s embarrassment. Reality says Dirk is still much better than Bargnani and if Marion is good for one thing, it’s neutralizing a wing. 0-2.
New Orleans: So they switched Chandler for Okafor. Is that going to put them over the top? No, but that’s still going to be good enough for West and Paul to dominate their way to a couple wins. Apparently, atmosphere-wise, New Orleans is one of the best places to see a NBA game. 0-2.
Memphis: See Clippers and Kings, Bosh stares down camera after winning at home. 2-0.
Final Record: 42-40Follow @raptorsrepublic