CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 06: Amir Johnson #15 of the Toronto Raptors tries to get the ball from Cody Zeller #40 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on November 6, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

I’m just putting this out there, but the Raptors are 1 of 3 remaining teams left in the league (hi, Milwaukee/New Orleans) who haven’t won a game against an above .500 team; 0-10 in fact. That number doesn’t sit well with me; it’s not that “oh, the Raptors suck, they can’t beat anyone over .500,” no, it’s that by now, they should have at least one win under their belt. Both the Houston (the Jazz beat the Rockets ffs) and Portland losses in overtime were there for the taking. Just floating this, but IF the Raptors split one of those two games, AND beat the Nets like they should have (I’m not over that win…hate the f****** Nets), this team is .500 and Ujiri would be working overtime to get this team back to the lottery.

But if if was the fifth…yes yes…

As it stands, the dice landed where they did, and the Raptors only trail the Celtics by a game for the Atlantic and 4th seed in the East. For the first time in a while, it’s been fun to watch this team play hard and have some success in-spite of Colangelo’s grubby fingerprints still lingering all over the place. Which brings me full circle on this ridiculous tangent: Colangelo was the worst GM in Raptors history. He was handed a dream situation by Embry, and spent the next 7 *sigh* years ruining our lives.

Go nuts in the comments.

Ok, I’m done…sorry…

After going 3-1 since moving Gay for General Greivis & Co., the Raptors have a chance to make amends for past coaching transgressions; not all of them, just for this one:

The Bobcats have been moving in the opposite direction over the last week, dropping 3 of 4, but are coming off a convincing 95-87 win over the Kings last night. They started the game very fast, running the score up 35-22, never really letting Sacramento back in despite Boogie going off for 30pts 17rebs.


Point Guard
This is the games key match-up. It all starts and finishes with the Kemba and Ramon, who are a formidable combo, and give the Bobcats (can’t wait till they change back to the Hornets) different looks throughout the game and a pretty solid 48 minutes of point guard play. But surprise, mother f*****, the Raptors have their own 1-2 punch with Lowry and General Greivis that will keep the Bobcats defense honest. Yes, they have the 2nd ranked defense in the league, but they also play one of the slowest paces, and without a real rim protector, there is real pressure on Walker and Sessions to defend the perimeter. I like Lowry’s and Greivis’ size in this match-up, but will be tight.
Edge: Even

With MKG out, Ben Gordon gets more time than he should, but Henderson will occupy a bulk of the minutes at the 2-guard. What the Cats lack here, is defense. Henderson, and especially Gordon, will be giving up lots of good looks, giving Ross the opportunity to make them pay. However, I want to see the slashing/attacking Ross tonight. There will be open lanes and sub-par rim protection; there’s no reason Ross can’t drop 15+ and get to the line 7-8 times. MKG’s injury also shortens the options at the 3 significantly, which gives Casey some match-up options he normally wouldn’t have. Jeff Taylor’s been getting the bulk of the minutes at small forward, but again, the wing position is short (in stature and depth). Expect a 25+ point night from DeRozan. Between DeMar, Ross, and Salmons, the Raptors should own this match-up for a full 48.
Edge: Raptors

Front Court
This is where things start to get interesting; marginally. Josh McRoberts is a nice stretch four that sees the floor well, but things drop-off significantly after him. The Bobcats have been heavily playing on a front court rotation of McRoberts, Jefferson, Biyombo and Zeller, and as you can see, there is something, but not a whole lot. This can’t happen again. Fortunately, with Gay out of the picture, the court has opened herself up for Amir and Jonas to get to work in the paint. Both have responded to the call and started to reverse the slow start to the season. Al Jefferson is a ball-stopping black hole in the paint. Biyombo is a raw 40 year old who is probably at his peak. Zeller was selected far too high and McRoberts…I have no problem with Josh; just that he’s not a starting PF in the league. What I’m trying to get at here is that even if Hansbrough doesn’t dress, the Raptors front court should be able to handle the Cats front court.
Edge: Raptors

Keys to the Game

  1. Don’t start the game flat. The Bobcats are on the second night of a back-to-back, and can’t be spotted a 35-22 lead. The Raptors need to make them work hard on both ends of the floor, and wear them down so they fold down the stretch.
  2. Protect the perimeter. The Bobcats shot 8-17 last night. Tired legs will work some of that out, but if Walker, Sessions, McRoberts and Gordon get going, it could open up the floor for Henderson to slash and Jefferson/Zeller to bang in the paint.
  3. Get the ball to Amir and Jonas in the paint. This just makes good sense; should be a standing strategy going forward.

The Line

The Raptors are 5.5 point favourites with an over/under of 191.5; sounds about right. After tonight, the Raptors play 8 of the next 10 games on the road. Wins will start getting harder and more expensive, so they need to handle business tonight. I like the Raptors. You like the Raptors. The gamblers like the Raptors. The Raptors by 8; no pizza.

  • Milesboyer

    “Biyombo is a raw 40 year old who is probably at his peak”. Hilarious and probably true.

  • Tim W.

    Can you really have a convincing win over Sacramento?

    • Roarque

      And now Rudy has sore knees? What happened? Did he overextend himself proving to the World that is an all-star on the Kings first home game with him on the roster? The next night he was back to the Rudy Torontonians know well.

  • Shimon L.

    This is poorly written.

    • Beagle17

      but it had some soul, didn’t it?

    • shaddup

      Can you do better?

  • Marz

    No way. Babcock is by far the worst GM the Raptors have ever had, with only one positive transaction: signing an undrafted Jose Calderon. Colangelo made his mistakes, but at least he didn’t pay Alonzo Mourning $10M to win a championship with the heat.

    • Sam

      Babcock did a lot of damage in a short period of time, but Colangelo did an equal amount of damage over a longer period of time


        Babcock takes the prize imo, trading VC in his prime for nothing. Unless im forgetting something like a draft pick we used. The alonzo thing was horrible too. I can see him in his mansion laughing at the organization holding a certified check.

    • Mihkel Bafter

      Babcock at least left the Raptors a clear direction they should take which is rebuilding. Colangelo just left a giant mess of a team with no draft picks and no cap space.

    • Lyall

      MARZ: Buddy, the reason Rabcock -isn’t- the worst GM of them all is -because- he signed Jose. Teams’ all time leader in assists. At least we had an All-Star in Bosh. COLANgelo? AFter the first year or two: no (basket) balls, did everything on a consensus basis which hurt team focus, was too young, and inherited a team that got flukin’ lucky the first year or two. Then? The rest is forgetabble history. And don’t even get me started on the firing of Sam Mitchell… Sam was the man…. *sniff*… Sam…

  • leftovercrack

    This waiting for trades is frustrating; I guess we want the Raps to win the next few games impressively to raise the value of their assets, then to lose after they trade the aforementioned assets

  • nyStef

    Before Masai had the whole Rudy thing magically resolved without even making a phone call — Kings GM called HIM about Rudy, some magic or what? — I might’ve said horrible, awful things about Colangelo if asked. But … Masai. It’s in the hands of Masai. Feeling damn-near religious about it all. That’s how much I disliked being stuck with Rudy’s nineteen million going out to him next year for more of what we saw these past weeks … oh, the agony.

    So … In Masai I do trust.

    Of course … we’ll see what tomorrow brings us. But today … if you say Colangelo, I say …

    … M A S A I …

    • The Rub

      That’s not that crazy, Rudy was on the trading block, I’m sure all GMs in the league knew he was available.

    • mike, prague


  • Roarque

    Watched the Portland-Cleveland game on Tuesday night and realized the Trailblazers might be the model that Masai should study – an entertaining basketball team with a low profile C in Robin Lopez found on the scrap heap and given an opportunity to do what he does well; surrounded by relative unknowns along with a draft pick or two. They are winning on the road, they are winning at home, man they are just winning. And by now it shouldn’t be considered a fluke.

    • Tanks-a-lot

      The Blazers are only 2-2 against winning record teams. The Suns beat the Blazers twice already.
      They will come back down to earth as they have had an easy ride so far.
      The Blazers have a stinky defense as well.

      • Yoshi

        They have wins against Denver, San Antonio, OKC, Golden State, Houston and Indiana and 6-5 against teams with winning records.

        • Tanks-a-lot

          I forgot the qualifier, on the road

          edited the comment. ok?

      • Yoshi

        Where are you getting your stats?

    • sleepz

      The also have 2 legit all-star players this year in Aldridge (2nd overall pick) and Lilliard.
      Batum (3rd option) is better than any player the Raps have.

      If Masai is following how Portland built its team he has a long way to go to accumulate their talent.

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