Not to mention the Raptors own awful performance in Dallas. It was the second half of a back to back for the Raps but that was an awful effort on the defensive end. The Spurs are a team that has a number of shooters and can take advantage of the Raptors lack of a perimeter defense. The Raptors are one of the best offensive teams in this league so far. While the Spurs traditionally have been one of the best on the defensive end of the floor. However like the Raps they are trying to get some new faces into the mix and gave up 113 and 96 points in loses to Utah and Portland.
Some Keys To the Game:
Rebounding- The Raps will need to fight and claw on the glass as the Spurs have only got better on the boards with the addition of Blair he has been averaging 7.6 boards in just 18 minutes on the floor and Duncan 11.8 but after that there is a drop off and Spurs have actually averaged on the season just 39 boards a game while giving up 42. Toronto needs to win the battle on the glass and help use defensive rebounds to launch transition offense. Also getting on the offensive glass and getting some second chances points as well.
Tempo- Raptors should look to push the pace on both ends of the floor. We have seen the Raps break out a press defense a few times this year. Might not be a bad idea tonight with no Tony Parker to handle the basketball. While on offense an easy basket via the transition is always welcomed, any easy score you can get on the Spurs is helpful. The less times you have to line up and play this team in the half court the better.
No 3's Please- The heck with the house, get those darn kids chucking rocks and breaking windows. Yes beware of Duncan on the inside but not at the expense of watching Manu, Roger Mason Jr and friends light it up from the outside. Basically if you are guarding a 3 point shooter your HELP is not required, leave it to the others on the floor to sort out. If you have ever seen the movie Top Gun, the Raptors need to stick with their wing man in the basketball sense. If Tim Duncan gets 40 and Raps lose I will say I was wrong, but pretty sure that is not happening. 3>2 and that is not changing anytime soon.
Some Key Players
Spurs: Roger Mason Jr. - He is shooting just 29.4 % from 3 point range. For whatever reason Mason has been a thorn in the Raptors side and always has had great games vs Toronto. What did we do Roger? I may never know but what I do know is this guy always brings it against the Raps
Raptors: Jose Calderon - No excuses with no Parker this is a game that Calderon must dominate and play like the Jose that some people see as a top 10 PG in the league. He has had to decent nights on this road trip he really needs to break out and have a good one tonight.
Spurs: DeJaun Blair- NBA scouts flat out dropped the ball on this kid. He can provide energy and effort and will be a load to deal with on the glass. He played his college ball in the rough and tumble Big East and the guy is a beast. Always need to know where he is when a shot goes up.
Raptors: Antonie Wright- He has been showing hustle and energy out on the floor and the Raps will need some of that. While many would like to see him in the starting 5...I remain happy with seeing him come off the bench and it is a role he has embraced. Manu, R.J and a few others are tough guys to guard and Wright can be a factor if he can help quiet on of them.
I just got word from The Score HQ that the Dino Blogger has once again been called to duty to cover this one for you on The Score.com and Score Mobile...this is a game on Raps T.V so if you don't have that you might want to come hang with us. Even if you do it is a great way to interact with a bunch of Raptor fans like yourself. Your own virtual Raptor Party if you will.
Also if you follow my Twitter @Dinonationblog you likely already know. However I am pleased to say tomorrow the Dino Nation Blog welcomes back Chuck Swirsky a day before his Bulls hit the T-Dot. The interview was taped today and I hope you will enjoy it. Chuck always is great to talk with and has some interesting thoughts about the Bulls, Raps and 2010. Look for links to that interview on Twitter as well as to tonight's game with Spurs and Raps. Following the Dino Nation Blog on Twitter is the best way to stay on top of what I am doing and things going on with the blog.