"Behind Enemy Lines"

I have heard and read it all about tonight's game in Cleveland. There is a lot being said with it being the first time LeBron James has played the Cavaliers in a Miami uniform. Everything from 'LeBron James ripped this city's heart out in a TV tour' or 'I can't wait for him to feel some pain'. I understand the frustration at decisions these pro athletes make or how some carry themselves. However, I don't understand the time and negative energy spent on signs and other devices to express hatred. Now it is personal and no longer about basketball. The Cleveland Cavaliers and area police are preparing for an event not like any other this city has ever seen because of the hatred some feel towards one person and his team as a by-product of this hate. Sure, be upset he left Cleveland and be happy if the Cavaliers win tonight. But let's get back to what this beautiful game is all about - cheering for the love of basketball. The Toronto Raptors have four games this week: Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers and 2 against New York. Let's dig in.

Friday, December 3 - Oklahoma City Thunder @ Toronto Raptors

  • This is the first time these two teams have met this regular season.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a triple overtime win over the New Jersey Nets, 123 -120.
  • Kevin Durant, Cole Aldrich and Daequan Cook are on the Thunder's inactive list. Kevin Durant sat out last game because of a sprained knee and is day to day.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder sit at 13 and 6 so far.
  • The last two times these two teams met during the 2009-2010 season, Andrea Bargnani put up an average of 15 points. Only when Chris Bosh wasn't in the line up did DeMar DeRozan put up more than 10 points against the Thunder.
  • Key to Friday's game: the Raptors need to watch their transition game. Against a team like Oklahoma, you can't afford too many turnovers or the snowballing of little mistakes.

Sunday, December 5th - New York Knicks @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the second and third time these two teams have met during the regular season.
  • The Knicks won the last time they met the Raptors on October 27th, 2010, 98-93. Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza were the top two scoring Raptors with 22 and 13 points respectively.
  • The Knicks have won their last two games and are 10 and 9 so far.
  • The Toronto Raptors need to watch NBA Rookie of the month, Knicks' Landry Fields. He ranks fourth among rookies in scoring and second in rebounding.
  • The key to the next two match-ups with the Knicks: play solid team defense and own each rebound. Neither team has a perfect record so far and both are looking to be consistent and solid.

Monday, December 6th - Toronto Raptors @ Indiana Pacers

  • This will be the first time these two teams have met this season.
  • During the 2009-2010 regular season, the Pacers and Raptors met four times and split the wins. Andrea Bargnani was the most consistent scorer for the Raptors during these meetings, putting up 34 points in one game. Other Raptors like Jose Calderon and Sonny Weems were inconsistent against the Pacers but put up decent numbers.
  • The Indiana Pacers are 9 and 8 on the season so far and are really no more successful than the Raptors. Monday's match-up could be anyone's game.
  • Paul George, A.J Price and Lance Stephenson are on Indiana's inactive list.
  • Key to this game: Watch Brandon Rush. He has been on fire with his hot hands as of late and if his supply of passing is cut off, that may be the key. Indiana has a few players who can be off on a good night if you force them to make shots.

So there's your food for thought for the week. Thanks for joining me. I will see you again on Tuesday for more "NBAz in 7 Dayz". Have a great weekend.

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