From here on out, every game is a must win. Triano talked about not panicking recently, and I agree to a certain point. When your franchise player is out of the lineup, and you lose 4-in-a-row because the rest of the team isn’t that good, you just hope Bosh gets better quick and gets back fast enough to assure us of a playoff spot. Now that he’s back, and we’re in the stretch run, these girls need to pull up their skirts and get down to business.
With the resurgent Milwaukee Bucks a half game behind us for 5th, things are tighter in the East than you might expect. The difference between the 5th spot (where the Raptors currently are) and the 9th spot (where the Bobcats are trying not to fall apart from) is only three games. Considering we just dropped 4 in a row, whatever cushion we had just evaporated and the certainty of a playoff spot we had a week ago has been reduced to a dog fight.
Over the last four games, the Raptors have just been terrible, they:
- have lost by an average margin of 16.2 points
- have given up an average of 115.5 ppg
- allowed their opponents to shoot 47.1% from the field
- turned the ball over 61 times, which has lead to 80 points
Oh…and no one has stepped up to fill in for Bosh. I mean, Jack has done a pretty good job of steadying the ship, but Turkoglu is playing just a bit better than usual, and Bargnani doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be #1; and you can’t really expect much from the rest.
What we have got a glimpse of the last 6 games is what life will be like if Bosh walks this summer (not a sign and trade). If the franchise ups-and-leaves, we will have almost enough cap space to replace him with anyone other than the likes of a Drew Gooden or someone along those lines. I get nauseous just thinking about it.
The Knicks are just all kinds of awful. They are 3-10 since February (including a 9 game losing streak) with 2 of their 3 wins coming against the Wizards. It’s a sadder sight than Arsenalist at a Justin Bieber concert hopping, clapping and swooning. However, they are coming off a hard fought win against the Pistons where D’Antoni used a tight 7-man rotation.
If the same lineup is used tonight against the Raptors, things will get interesting.
G, Tracy McGrady [6-8, 223]
OG, Bill Walker [6-6, 230]
SF, Danilo Gallinari [6-10, 225]
PF, Al Harrington [6-9, 250]
C, David Lee [6-9, 250]
PG, Sergio Rodriguez [6-3, 176]
OG/PG, Eddie House [6-1, 180]
I don’t know a whole lot about Bill Walker, but the rest of this lineup is very athletic and matches up very well with an injury plagued Raptors (Calderon and Turkoglu are listed as day-to-day). The only thing that worries me is McGrady at the point, who has been playing pretty good in the 7 games he’s been a Knick (four of which he has scored more than 15 points). Jack will have his hands full, as McGrady can shoot over him at will and post him up.
I like Banks/Weems off the bench against Rodriguez and House, but I suspect Wilson Chandler will get plenty of burn since he likes to light the Raptors up. Poor Eddie, guy got shafted large with this exile.
While I hope Turkoglu and Calderon are fine and will be ready for the playoffs, I like that Wright and Banks will be getting plenty of burn in their stead. Banks has don’e nothing but ball when given the opportunity, but Wright especially, given how it is expected for his minutes to increase heading into the playoffs.
I’m mostly hoping Al Harrington treats us to cocky moments like this in a Raptor win:
After getting the shaft during the Olympic semi-finals, Raptor Fan Fridays is back tonight at the Sport Centre Cafe.Follow @raptorsrepublic