The Newark Layover.

If it is hard for me to get excited for this game wonder if it is the same for the Raptors. How about you folks are you pumped up for Nets and Raptors? The Raptors do have something to play for in that they could return home with a winning record from a road trip that few expected them to do much in. It saw the return of Bargnani only to be short lived as it would last almost 2 games. The Raptors last game in Denver was typical of the other games without Bargnani this season. The Raptors did have Bargnani the last time they faced the Nets but still lost 97-85. Two things stick out from that game. The Raptors got dominated on the glass, they also got killed from long range as Nets shot 15-31 (48.4%) from beyond the 3 point line.

Rumours have been flying around the Jose Calderon may want out of Toronto. Those rumours be they true or false can serve as some motivation for Jerryd Bayless. He comes in off his best game of the season in which he had 18 points and was 7-10 from the field and 4-5 from the 3 point line. He was not part of the match-up the first time these two teams hooked up. But it may be his ability to stop Deron Williams that will determine his playing time. Jose Calderon has never had much if any success trying to stop him. Williams and Calderon have meet 14 times here are the numbers:

Deron Williams: 18.9 PPG, 8.9 Assists, 1.6 Steals, Shooting % 43.8 with 2.9 turnovers
Jose Calderon: 9.9 PPG, 5.6 Assists, 0.9 Steals, Shooting % 41.5 with 1.6 turnovers.

But the most glaring stat is this one, Deron Williams is 14-0 in games vs Calderon. He has never lost against him in his NBA Career. In a road trip in which the Raptors have beat a couple losing streaks this is another one they look to change today. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it to happen.

3 Keys:

Defend The Arc: We mentioned how well the Nets did the last time from behind the arc. If you let them getting going again it could be a long night. Be alert for kick outs as Williams attacks the paint.

The Broken Record: We keep saying it but the Raptors have to find a way to get off to better starts. If they don't figure this out they will not be winning many games regardless of who is in or out of the line-up.

Limit 2nd Chance Points: Kris Humphries heard boos in Toronto the last time and really didn't care. He got on the offensive glass early and often and was a big key to the Nets winning the battle on the glass.

Whatever happens I have a request it happens quickly. I would like to watch the Royal Rumble so the quicker the better. Please no triple overtime like last year in England. Not that it is basketball but my pick to win the Royal Rumble is Chris Jericho.

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