Apparently, Bosh’s injury is worse than what Bosh himself suspected, and the team is just being careful with him. There wasn’t a lot of swelling, but he needs more movement. Heading into the stretch run, it is paramount that he is healthy and 100%. If that means sitting out a game against the best team in the league, then I can live with it. The fact of the matter is that even with Bosh, this game would be very challenging, no need to risk further injury.
On Wednesday, Portland forced the Raptors into their style of play: slow pace, keep folks out of the paint, and contest shots. Watching a team execute a plan like that to perfection was very frustrating. To make matters worse, the Raptors played far to loose with the ball, allowing 17 points off of 16 turnovers, not to mention allowing 20 fast break points. What a brutal game to watch, seriously.
Tonight the Raptors host the Cavs, who may have made the biggest splash at the trade deadline by shipping out Ilgauskas (who just got bought out and will be rejoining the Cavs in a couple weeks) for the stretch power foward they have always coveted to play beside LeBron aka Antawn Jamison; all without giving up JJ Hickson. This is a scary team from top to bottom:
PG – Mo Williams; Daniel Gibson; Sebastian Telfair
SG – Anthony Parker, Delonte West
SF – LeBron James, Jamario Moon, Daniel Green
PF – Antawn Jamison, JJ Hickson, Jawad Williams, Darnell Jackson, Leon Powe
C – Shaquille O’Neal, Anderson Varejao, Zadrunaus Ilgauskas (after the 1 month waiting period)
That my friends is a deep team.
This is the third game of the season against the Cavs, and the first with Jamison in the lineup. The season opener saw Bosh and Bargnani have monster games as the Raptors stopped the Cavs dead in their tracks a night after Boston did the same. The second game was a different beast, as Turkoglu registered one of his many no shows. The Cavs didn’t blow the Raptors out of the water, which was positive; but the Raptors were never really a threat to pull out a win.
Tonight has potential to be a rough one, especially if Bosh is out of the lineup again. Rasho has had a pretty solid three game run, but I don’t want to see him start the game. Bargnani is due to break out of his little funk (not really a funk, but with Bosh being out we expected a bit more). The benefit of starting Bargs at center is having Amir start at power forward, which is a better matchup with Jamison.
This front court tandem gives us a mobile, athletic duo that will force Cleveland to think about making adjustments.
You then counter Hickson and Varajeo off the bench with Evans, Rasho and some creative line juggling of Bargnani and Johnson. Whatever happens, Bargnani needs to give us 36 minutes of Dirk-level production or it all falls apart.
Hedo gets LeBron, and this isn’t a Hedo knock, but good luck. I say let him shoot all he wants, but don’t let him penetrate and create for others. At a minimum, if Hedo can be the scoring threat he was against the Blazers, LeBron will have to pay him special attention on defense splitting his focus. Wright has been getting more minutes as of late, and will be called on to provide relief off the bench.
DeRozan’s star has been fading a bit of late. The rook is by all accounts a gym rat who works hard and is hungry to improve, but has been seeing less and less action through the course of the game over the last couple weeks. For some reason, those minutes are going to Belinelli and not Weems, which I have absolutely no answer for. Of the two, Weems has clearly been the better, more consistent performer over the season.
I just want Jack to clothes-line Mo Williams at some point tonight. Mo hasn’t actually done anything for me to not like him, I just don’t. I’m also looking forward to Jamario Moon clanking a couple jumpers that breaks Cleveland’s offensive flow.
With Bosh playing, this would be an interesting game, with the Raptors having enough depth up front to give the Cavs some problems. Without him, I don’t like our chances. As long as we play tough and not fold, the Raptors can give themselves a chance to pull one out. The passing will need to be crisp, the ball needs to be protected, rebounds need to be grabbed and jumpers need to fall. Not so tall an order, huh? 😉
The ACC will probably be dead seeing as the Canadian Mens Olympic hockey team is in the semi’s against Slovakia. Fortunately, we know a bar that is carrying the Raptors game tonight: come join us for Raptor Fan Friday at the Sports Centre Cafe tonight.
Due to the Men’s Olympic semi-final hockey game coinciding at the same time with tonight’s Raptors game, we are cancelling this week’s RFF game party.
Since this rare Olympic hockey game will naturally have precedent over the Raps game, SCC will be forced to give the AUDIO preference to the Olympic game – which means we will not be able to put on our customary entertaining RFF game party.
We apologies for this sudden announcement. However, RFF will be back next Friday when the Raps take on our hated divisional rival New York K-Nicks.
We sincerely appreciate everyone’s understanding given tonight’s circumstances.Follow @raptorsrepublic