1/24/12

Raptors Chance To End Their Pain

This is the night where the Raptors can put an end to this losing streak. First reason being is it is likely that Andrea Bargnani will return tonight. Second they face a Suns team that is on second night of a back to back, as they were in Dallas last night with the WWE taking over their home. Telfair will be sitting tonight out for the Suns tonight as he received a flagrant 2 foul last night in Dallas and that is an automatic suspension for a game. Suns are 6-10 and have a 3-4 record at home. If there was a night that was set up for this steak to end tonight would be the night.

If it doesn't happen here is two reasons why it won't. Steve Nash always plays well when he knows Canada is watching. This game is on the main TSN likely because of him and him alone. Also the Raptors have been getting abused on the glass of late. The guy that could take advantage of that is Marcin Gortat. He had a huge double double in a loss to the Mavs. The potential return of Bargnani is going to help many things but rebounding is likely not one of them.

Raptors need to begin getting the starters and the start of games heading the right direction. The Raptors starting 5 without Bargnani has been positively awful. The Raptors must find a way to stay in the game early to have any chance to be in the game late. If Bargnani is back and able to score like he is capable this will be a big help in that regard.

3 Keys:

Make Nash A Scorer: You would rather see Steve Nash score 30 then have 15 assists. If he is able to get his team involved it makes the job that much harder. He will likely have to play some extra minutes with Telfair out from the suspension. On a second night of a back to back as well.

Rebound: Raptors have been awful on the glass and it has really been a big reason why they have not been able to be competitive of late. Everyone needs to crash the glass. Harder to do when playing zones on defence but not impossible.

Secondary Scoring: If Bargnani is back the Raptors are still going to need others to step up and score with him. Demar DeRozan or anyone else needs to take advantage of the return of Bargnani. If he isn't back this is still important. Raptors have been getting decent production from Barbosa and Kleiza off the bench of late.

If the Raptors don't take advantage of this gift a win in Utah or Denver seems highly unlikely. The Nets would be the next likely spot when searching for a win. But after losing 4 games on the road in West heading back East that doesn't seem as likely. Raptors mantra tonight needs to be 8 is enough and we would all agree with that.

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