Raptors vs. Nets, 7:30pm

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Tonight’s game should be considered the season opener. With Wednesday’s final pre-season game behind us, the Nets are our first taste of regular season talent and intensity. Now, you may not remember this, but they kinda sorta whooped us in the playoffs last year. Pretty much lubed it up and jammed it in. Didn’t even warn us it would hurt, either. Their motivation? We beat them for the Atlantic title.

Now WE’RE the motivated franchise looking to erase the bad taste in our mouths (it’s not chicken) and set an early standard for a much tougher Atlantic division. Some pre-game notes:

– Looking forward to seeing Jamal Magloire continue to prove he’s never been as good as people want to remember him.

– Curious as to when the wheels are finally going to fall off Jason Kidd’s wagon. True or False: He and Dikembe have found the Fountain of Youth and are hoarding it for themselves (they got tipped off by Reggie Theus, who got the location from Diane Lane and Sophia Loren).

– Speaking of Kidd, we can’t let him get going. When he finds his shot early he creates matchup hell for the other team. Gotta stay in front of him TJ and Jose – he’s like 90, he shouldn’t be blowing past you.

– Excited for OR tired of watching Vince whine the game away, I’m not sure. He’s definately past the point of thinning and full out bald though.

– Question – who’s going to guard Bargnani? Their best matchup looks to be Kristic, but I don’t think he can stay with the big rook soph going north/south. Think we might see Sean Williams on the Italian Stallion?

– And who’s covering Carter? I imagine it will be Parker and Delfino most of the night, but I won’t be surprised if Defence Joey pops out there shadowing Wince. And I also won’t be surprised when he misses two layups and jacks two off-balance stepbacks before Sam shakes his head and sends him back to the bench.

Don’t forget about: Bostjar ‘Boki’ Nachbar. Stupid nickname, smart player. He’s capable of doubling his 10ppg from last year on any given night. A tough, passionate player not afraid to take it to the hole, but it’s his sharpshooting that’s biggest cause for concern. He can drop 5 threes a night, and is often the weapon overlooked. But, like fellow hard-to-pronounce-white-role-player Linus Kleinza, Boki can fill it up fast. Remember this? Of course not, ’cause no one cares about the stupid Nets. Bunch a’ buzzkills.

Needless to say, it will be a tough game with a ton of emotion injected from the first tip-off. Though I think the Raptors will sputter through stretches, I still predict a victory.

Stud of the Game: TJ Ford. TJ wants to be the best. And to be the best, you have to beat the best (unlike Kidd, who just beats his wife).

Dud of the Game: In the past, I’d pick Vince, who always seemed rattled playing the Raptors. Then he went and did that whole playoff thing. Combine that with the fact that he’s on his home court, and I’m going to have to go with Josh Boone. Not that Boone’s any good anyway, but Bosh is going to eat him up on both ends of the court, so look for early foul trouble from the second year player.

Final Score: Raptors by 5.

The greatest point guard of a generation. My grandparent’s generation.

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