Do Not Expect A Shaqtastic Night At ACC

Chris Bosh remains doubtful for tonight and Shaq will be out for sure with an issue with his thumb. Bosh is nursing a bad left ankle suffered in the OT loss to Memphis. The Boshless Raptors are 2-1 but with wins over the Nets and Wizards that speaks to the record more than anything. A better class opposition in Portland had little trouble getting past the Raptors without CB4. Against the Cavs even minus Shaq the Raptors could be in serious trouble. James and his new buddy Jamison should be able to have more than enough for the Raptors to deal with. Cavs have a 20-10 road record with one of those losses taking place at the ACC to open their road schedule for the season.

That win seemed to make expectations for the Raptors go through the roof only to come crashing back to earth with a road loss to Memphis and a tough start to the season. The Raptors have always had some bad history in terms of Bosh injuries. Their win % without him is below .400 and he always seems to be injured at points in the season where Raptors can get on a run in their schedule. But with the Cavs then 2 games on the road vs two scrappy and talented teams from the West in OKC and Houston these would all be hard with Bosh forget about without him. Triano had said he was hopeful to have Bosh back for tonight. However it seems unlikely that is going to happen.

If that is the case the Raptors need a perfect performance and that might not even be enough. They can not have the sloppy play they had against Portland with turnovers and inconsistent offense. Lebron James has had many big games vs the Raptors in his career and has his career high against them. Ironically that came in a loss. Jamison also in his career has been successful for the most part against Toronto.

Two guys that need to answer the bell better than they did on Wednesday are Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. Both were kind of invisible against Portland and did not have the step up nights that the Raptors needed from them. In addition both Jack and Calderon need to do a better job in running the offense and dial it back just a bit in terms of taking risks. Jose Calderon out of character for him has been very loose in his decision making. I actually like that but he needs to dial it down a touch. Jose and his new found ability to lob the ball up for Amir, Sonny and Demar to throw it down is great. But easy does it Jose. Calderon if he figures out how to balance things can be highly effective. In terms of Jack he needs to make the adjustment of not having Chris on the floor. Much like a T.J Ford would do, Jack seems to call on himself to pick up the slack when Bosh is out. However he has help and need to help Demar and Andrea get on track and get them going.

Despite the loss Hedo Turkoglu was likely the best Raptor in that loss against Portland. No doubt motivated by the fact most around the Blazers are saying thank God Hedo didn't sign with them. I mean how many times have we been able to say Hedo was even in the conversation of being the best player on on given night? Not that many is the correct answer.

I am not sure if Raptors can have any answers for beating the Cavs unless they have a number 4 in the line-up. Even with him this would be a tough game. Cavs are an NBA best 45-14 and have gotten even better with the addition of Jamison. They are the clear cut favourite to win the East and I picked them to win the NBA Finals before they had Jamison. the puppet Finals that Nike dreamed of last season likely will happen this season. Raptors just would like to be in the playoffs and have a realistic chance to win a round and go from there.

I am doing this one for The Score so check back later in the day for a link for the liveblog that will start likely around 6:50 T-Dot time. With Olympics I feel like I am living on Pacific Time these days.

So Go Canada and Go Raptors. I was so proud of Joannie Rochette last night. She is a Canadian Figure Skater if you didn't know. Although you would have to have been living under a rock not to know who she it this week. That was one of the most courageous performances by a Canadian in anything. If the Raptors can ball with that kind of courage tonight or any night that would be all that fans can ask for.

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