"Behind Enemy Lines"

To measure the greatness of any coach or player for that matter, you need to look at what would happen to the team if he left. Based on the Raptors' record so far (3 and 9), I don't think the Raptors could get any worse if Head Coach Jay Triano left. Like Ron Wilson (the Head Coach of that other MLSE team), Jay Triano has a lot of talent but unless he gets his team back on track, he may have to start packing his bags. Raptors fans deserve more than what they have been given over the last 12 games, so something needs to be done before the slippery slope gets anymore slippery. The Raptors are at home this week hosting the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers. I think this week we'll see the battle of the Head Coaches. Jay Triano has a lot in common with Houston Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman in the player drama he's had to deal with. Doc Rivers, Head Coach of the Boston Celtics, is the major key to Boston's success. If the rumours came true and he retired at the end of last season, Boston would not be the team they are now. As for the 76ers, they have a Head Coach in Doug Collins, a guy who hasn't coached in 7 years, spending time as a TV analyst. So there is a lot to consider this week. Let's get to it.

Houston Rockets @ Toronto Raptors: Friday, November 19, 7pm.
  • The last time these two teams met was March 1st, 2010. Houston Rockets 116, Toronto Raptors 92.
  • Going into this game, the Rockets were 30-29 on the season with the Raptor at 31-28.
  • During this game, the Rockets dominated the first three quarters. Toronto exploded and put 27 points on the board in the fourth but it was enough.
  • Going into this week's match-up, Houston still has their starting five from this game and have added veterans Brad Miller and Courtney Lee.
  • Like Jay Triano, Houston Head Coach Rick Adelman has had to deal with his fair share of player drama (Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady). Coach Adelman knows how to push players for all they are worth, likes to stick to his systems and is able to adapt.
  • Player for Raptors to watch: Aaron Brooks - for his quickness and long range shooting. He plays major minutes and averaged about 20 points per game last season. But him being out has been a big part of why the Rockets have struggled.
Boston Celtics @ Toronto Raptors: Sunday, November 21, 1pm.
  • The last time these two teams met was April 7, 2010. Boston Celtics 115, Toronto Raptors 104.
  • Going into this game, the Celtics were 49-29 on the season with the Raptors sitting at 38-40.
  • During this game, the Celtics lead three of 4 quarters in scoring. Raptors showed up in the second quarter but lost steam in the end.
  • Going into this week's match-up, the Celtics still have their starting five and have added Shaquille O'Neal, Jermaine O'Neal and Von Wafer. They have lost Assistant Coach Tom Thibodeaux to a head coaching job with the Chicago Bulls.
  • The Celtics have won 17 NBA titles - last one in 2008. The Raptors? None.
  • Player for Raptors to watch: Rajon Rondo - for drawing fouls, being quick and finding ways to penetrate any defense.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Toronto Raptors: Wednesday, November 24, 7pm.
  • The last time these two teams met was April 3, 2010. Toronto Raptors 128, Philadelphia 76ers 123.
  • Going into this game, Philadelphia was 26-50 on the season and Toronto was 38-37.
  • During this game, the Raptors lead the first 3 quarters with Philadelphia battling back to tie the game. The Raptors put 14 points up on the board in overtime to push for the win.
  • Going into this week's match-up, the Sixers have 4 of their five starters from their last Raptors' meeting. However, they are without veterans Samuel Dalembert, Rodney Carney, Francisco Elson and Allen Iverson.
  • Head Coach Doug Collins hasn't coached since 2003 when he was Head Coach of the Washington Wizards. Between then and now, he has been an analyst for the NBA on TNT.
  • Will be a re-match of last night's game that the Raptors won in Philadelphia this time at the ACC. Will Iguodala be back will be a BIG Factor.
  • Player for Raptors to watch: Evan Turner - for being able to hit the mid-range and jump shots. Though he is still proving himself as a rookie on a struggling squad.

The best chance the Raptors have at winning based on record and team dynamics alone, is against the 76ers. Both Toronto and Philadelphia are playing to stay relevant and both are trying to put the past behind them. Though, for that reason alone, some could say this will be their toughest game. No one expects them to win against Houston or Boston, so maybe they can go into these match-ups relaxed. Can you imagine? Raptors 98, Celtics 95. It could happen. Now James will definitely think I have lost my marbles. Remember, these are points to get you thinking outside the box for the Raptors' games this week. Have fun and see you on Tuesday for more NBAz in 7 Dayz.

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