Both the Raptors and Bobcats have one thing in common: they both just beat up on the Pacers heading into tonights match. This was a game I had highlighted on my calendar once the Stephen Jackson trade went through. Regardless of what you thought of them before, you have to respect them now. This team already had some talent, and if Chandler can find a way to stay healthy, they will be a darkhorse in the East – sorry, but when Nazr Mohammed is your starting center, you don’t strike fear into my heart on a day by day basis.
The Raptors are coming off a blow out (without the blowout feel) against the Pacers, and head straight into the Bobcats waiting hands, who have been well rested since playing last on Sunday. These Raptors are an interesting bunch: they are on pace to being the best offensive and worst defensive team in NBA history. It’s quite the accomplishment, but also a sure fire recipe to drive the lot of us steaming mad.
Defense shouldn’t be a big issue tonight for the Raptors since Charlotte can’t seem to score the ball worth a lick. Iverson would have been a great fit here, imagine sporting a lineup of:
PG – Felton
SG – Iverson
SF – Wallace
PF – Jackson
C – Boris Diaw
That is a match-up nightmare, something to consider. My gift to Jordan and Higgins, no worse then what you’re doing now, think about it…
The Point: Felton and Augustin have been tough SOB’s against us in the past, being quick and all. Calderon and Jack have been balling like champs. They are attacking the rim, hitting their shots, dropping dimes and generally doing all you can ask of them (you can always ask for defense, but I’m beyond that). I have no hate left for Jack given his play the last few games, he looks like the guy I thought he would be. So this match-up will come down to who does more damage: my money is on Jose and Jack given how they have been ripping it up the last few games.
The Edge: Toronto
The Wings: I grouped these two together because I really don’t know who plays what. Both Jackson and Wallace are 3s, but the fact that they can be interchanged at a drop of dime means that DeRozan will be in for a long night – or a shorter then expected one. Rebounding is a big issue at the wing spot. Wallace and Jackson grab about 16 a game boards between the two of them, and our wings don’t even come close. Factor in their tough kamikaze attitude, and this does not look favourable for the Raptors, even considering Turkoglu’s solid play of late.
The Edge: Charlotte
The Bigs: What does a poor game by Bosh look like this season? 16pts 12rebs 4ast 4blks … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … LOL. So the guy is a legit elite/max player this year … With Chandler, the Charlotte front court is good, without him, they are Boris Diaw and a bunch of air puppets. Bargnani wont have anyone zeroing in on him like Foster did in the first half of last nights game, and since Nazr Mohammed can’t defend a bowl of pasta against Il Mago, this should be a big night for our boy.
The Edge: Toronto
The Reserves: I expect to see a lot of Wright, as he will either need to keep Wallace away form the rack, or Jackson out of his comfort zone (not sure where that would be). The combo of Belinelli and Johnson (#freeamir) has been a surprising one. I like the chemistry these guys have together. Belinelli launches ridiculous passes at Amir, he catches and dunks em. The two get into the game and make an impact quickly. I like seeing them teamed up together, and hope they bring hell tonight.
The Edge: Toronto
Bobcats are -2.5 with an over/under of 194.5
Visser’s sims are 12-3 this year and this time the crystal ball is predicting a 96-88 Raptor win. I’m on board, it wont be an easy win, and this will probably be a along, ground out, boring one; but the Raptors will take this one on the road, and get back to .500 on the year.