The first blog of 2010 as the Raptors begin the year in Boston. Celtics are banged up and coming off a west coast trip and losses to the Warriors and Suns. While The Raptors closed 2009 winning 5 in a row. If they could steal a win in Boston they would reach the .500 mark for the first time since near the start of the season. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett both question marks heading into this one. Raptors will be without Hedo Turkoglu, Jose Calderon and Reggie Evans. Antonie Wright is expected to get the start if Hedo does not go. He will be a game time decision. Wright has been in and out of the doghouse this season. He did play well filling in for Hedo against the Bobcats. This is the front half of a pretty nasty back to back as they travel home and face the Spurs on Sunday.
It is a challenging start to the 2010 schedule for the Raptors for sure. The Celtics will be back to face the Raptors again next Sunday back at the ACC. Also on the up coming list is the Orlando Magic who have owned the Raptors this year winning all 3 contests so far this year. Jose Calderon has said he is close to being ready to return and that will make for an interesting choice for Jay Triano. He was here as an assistant during the whole T.J Ford/Calderon situation. Sam Mitchell stuck with Jose over the returning Ford. He would later flip flop and go back to Ford as the starter based on his struggles in the back-up roll. This is going to be the biggest decision for Jay Triano in his short time as head coach of the Raptors. That is something for another day though as it will be Jack and Banks that will have to deal with Rajon Rondo.
Given the history of Calderon going against Rondo that may not be such a bad thing. Rondo is a point guard that can expose Jose on the defensive end. Depending on who is in and out for the Celtics Rondo will be a bigger part of the scoring mix for Boston.
This could be a good time for the Raptors to catch the Celtics and score what would be an unlikely win when you scan the schedule. Hard to know what to expect with so many players status up in the air for this one. However the Raptors learned a hard lesson earlier in the year about taking for granted a good team when they have guys out. The Spurs crushed them with no Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. Hopefully the Raptors learned from that experience. Boston is a tough place to get a win regardless of who the Celtics have healthy.
Can the Raptors keep the roll going? Will see but if the Raptors if they can make it through January and exit in about the same spot they are now things look bright. February is the best month of the Raptors schedule by a country mile. It is a point where the Raptors could make a run away from the pack and focus on positioning in the playoffs rather than just making them. But they have to be in position to do that.
Happy New Year to you all and thanks for supporting the Dino Nation Blog in 2009 and hope you will continue to do so in 2010.