"Behind Enemy Lines"

I am impressed. Whether his agent told him to say it or not, I am impressed. Jaryd Bayless is saying all the right things: being positive about the city of Toronto and being genuinely excited to be a Raptor. The club needs this kind of energy and new blood. Not to say that because Peja Stojakovic has been a pro for 12 years he's old news but Peja is acting a little more realistic. He's already proven himself in the league and knows this may be a short-term stay in Toronto. But with Jaryd Bayless, he is looking to set down some roots and grow as a player. I don't think Raptors fans should go overboard with enthusiasm but be very excited things are looking up. Let's look to this week when the Raptors play Boston, Atlanta and Washington.

Friday, November 26th - Toronto Raptors @ Boston Celtics

  • The last time these two teams met was in Toronto - Sunday, November 21st. The Raptors scratched out a 102-101 win.
  • The Celtics were without Rajon Rondo due to a hamstring injury and is currently day to day. Delonte West is also out of the Boston line-up with a broken wrist.
  • During their last meeting, the Raptors' bench outscored Boston's 31-21.
  • The Celtics allowed their highest scoring quarter against them this season during their last meeting with the Raptors.
  • Andrea Bargnani did well versus Boston in their last match-up with 29 points, with Ray Allen and Paul Pierce only getting 19 points a piece for Boston.
  • Key to this game: The Raptors played like they cared. Boston didn't and may have walked in a little overconfident.
Sunday, November 28th - Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the first time the Hawks and Raptors will meet during the regular season.
  • The Hawks are coming off a 107-101 loss in overtime to New Jersey. They will play the Wizards and Knicks before meeting Toronto on Sunday.
  • The Hawks started the season 6-0 but lost 7 of their last nine games (currently 8-7 on the season to date).
  • Six players from Atlanta's roster have been named to the 2011 All Star Ballot: Joe Johnson, Al Horford, Josh Smith, Marvin Williams, Mike Bibby and Jamal Crawford. For the Raptors: Andrea Bargnani, Demar DeRozen and Linas Kleiza.
  • The key to this game: get Atlanta's big three (Joe Johnson, Josh Smith and Al Horford) to force their shots (during their last game versus Boston, Atlanta's big three shot 20 for 50 from the floor).

Wednesday, December 1st - Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the second time the Wizards and Raptors have met during the 2010-2011 regular season. The Wizards currently sit at 5-8 on the season.
  • November 16th Toronto was in Washington and lost 109-94.
  • Andray Blatche and Gilbert Arenas had 22 and 20 points on the night respectively. The Wizards also out-rebounded the Raptors 47-36. For the Raptors: Andrea Bargnani 16, Linas Kleiza 15.
  • The Wizards have two players who remain sidelined indefinitely: John Wall with a sprained left foot and Yi Jianlian is out with a bone bruise in his right knee.
  • The key to Wednesday's meeting: REBOUNDING. The Raptors need to take the lead on this and watch their transition game.

So a little food for thought as you devour these games in the coming week. Have a great weekend and see you on Tuesday for "NBAz in 7 Dayz".

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