Well the last time we talked about a basketball game that truly meant anything was likely some time last January. Sure the Raptors played games in February through April last season but the writing was on the wall. They take on the team this blog predicted to win the NBA Title when June rolls around. Early on last night the Cavs looked ever bit that champion as they were kicking the Celtics all around Cleveland. It was pretty scary to think the Raptors had to play this game. However in the next 3 quarters the Celtics would come back in a major way and pull out a win in impressive fashion. That might make the job even more of a challenge for the Raptors as there is no question an 0-2 start is not in the plans for the Cavs.
Some Keys To The Game:
Lebron James has had some of his best performances in the NBA against the Raptors. In fact if my memory serves me his career high is vs Toronto. The most scary thing for not just the Raptors but the entire NBA is that Lebron was bringing it just as hard on defense as he does on offense. Make sure you check over your shoulder on the break or you may just have flight 23 coming to block your shot.
On the offensive end how will the Raps guard him? When you consider they have a big option in Shaq on the inside and shooters like Anthony Parker, Williams and Gibson to name 3 guys that can take and make a 3. If you are looking for an answer from me...keep looking as that is why they pay Jay Triano the big bucks.
Bosh says that the comments from Shaq last season calling him the Rue Paul of big men has been forgotten. I love Chris but are we really suppose to believe that? Bosh wants max money and he wants to be considered one of the NBA's elite. Good chance to be about it taking on a guy that basically called you out. He called Bosh a quitter as well. Bosh needs to prove him wrong on both ends of the floor. 20 and 10 is nice....17 points 9 rebounds 3 blocks and 2 steals is just as nice.
Welcome to the NBA kid met Lebron James. Demar DeRozan will in fact hear his name called tonight at the ACC. There will not be much time to let that sink in. LBJ the leagues MVP will be waiting to welcome him to the league. Demar must defend and run. Do the best he can on the defensive end and just get out and run in transition whenever possible. Antonie Wright is now healthy and it may not be a huge shock if we see a lot more of him than Demar on opening night. But for every second Demar is on the floor he must be thinking D first and everything else second. That might not be a bad mindset for everyone on this team come to think of it.
Other Things I Wonder:
Parker will get cheers from ACC Crowd. How about Jamario Moon? I have a feeling the boos will rain down on him.
Will Hedo have his alarm clock go off and let him know the season is here?
if this game is close who is the PG down the stretch? Jose or Jack...the answer will be in Jose's effort on the defensive end of the floor.
Who Guards Shaq? Raps may need to call on Rasho to play some minutes as Bargnani or Bosh on Shaq is not a good match-up for the Raps.
As much as I would like to tell you different, I think it would be a minor miracle if the Raptors can get a win tonight. But before you hiss and boo at your computer screen. May I remind you this team started out 3-0 last year and how did that work out? This start to the season is going to be a challenge and is likely going to crush a lot of optimistic feelings heading into the year. When you look at the Raptors schedule with an objective eye you understand that wins early on will be very tough to come by. My hope is the Raps can survive that and learn from it and move forward better for it. The comparisons to the team that won the Atlantic Division Title had been out there. Well let's not forget that team went 2-8 before shocking this very Cavs team after coming home off a long west coast trip. It is highly unlikely the Raptors are going to provide you instant gratification. Which in a world that is based on that may cause more than a few to lose hope fast. The Raptors goal till the end of the year realistically is to stay in the hunt and not fall out of it. The number one reason why that can't happen is cause if it does we are likely watching the last season for Chris Bosh as a Raptor. I for one am not ready for that.