"Behind Enemy Lines"

Raptors + Denver Nuggets + Friday = HUGE. For two reasons. One: the Toronto Raptors will be playing a team fighting for their coach and his legacy of a thousand career wins. Two: James and myself will be meeting with some very lucky fans of the DNB in box seats at the Air Canada Centre. For the DNB and for me personally at the very least, it will be the most exciting game of the year. Fans of the blog will know my allegiance lies with the purple and gold and to the Raptors every other night the Lakers aren't playing. However, knowing what Denver has gone through as a club in the last year and how they have supported Head Coach George Karl through his battle with cancer makes me throw my support behind them too. I want the Raptors to snap their 3 game loosing funk but I wouldn't mind seeing George Karl get win number one thousand since I will actually be in attendance for the game. Just being honest - as I always am with you. Besides this Friday against Denver, the Raptors will be up against Detroit, Charlotte and Chicago. Nibble on this.

Friday, December 10 - Denver Nuggets at Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the first time these two teams have met this season.
  • Denver starter Carmelo Anthony is day to day with an inflamed right knee. He was a late scratch against Boston so there is a chance he will play Friday night.
  • Denver Head Coach George Karl is one game away from 1,000 wins as an NBA coach. Only 6 other NBA coaches have accomplished this.
  • Denver's hot: Gary Forbes earned a start in place of Carmelo Anthony. Ty Lawson is leading Denver in an average of 24 points off the bench in absence of Anthony.
  • Who's not: Chauncey Billups is shooting a career low 35.8% from the field through 21 games for Denver.
  • Key for Raptors: whether or not Carmelo Anthony is in the line-up and if they play solid defense.

Saturday, December 11 - Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons

  • This will be the first time these two teams will meet this season.
  • Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and Richard Hamilton combined for 48 points in their last game against the Hornets (19, 16 and 13 respectively).
  • Detroit Injuries: Terrico White out with a broken foot. Jonas Jerebko still out with a partially ruptured achilles tendon on his right leg and will miss the next 5 months.
  • Raptors need to watch Ben Wallace. He grabbed his 10, 000th rebound November 30th, 2010 and is the third active player to record this stat with 2,000+ blocks in his career.
  • Key for Raptors: Realistically, the Pistons are no better than the Raptors despite the above. Play confident and force Gordon, Stuckey and Hamilton to take shots out of their comfort zone.
Tuesday, December 14 - Toronto Raptors at Charlotte Bobcats

  • This will be the second time these 2 teams have met this season. The last game was a 101-96 win for Charlotte on November 10th.
  • During this game, Gerard Wallace, Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw all played close to or over 40 minutes and put up double digit points for Charlotte. Andrea Bargnani was in for 38 minutes and had 25 points on the night for the Raptors.
  • Gerald Wallace recorded his 17th game with double figure scoring and 8th game with 20+ points for the Bobcats. Stephen Jackson and Tyrus Thomas are also on a roll with double figure games. Stephen Jackson has averaged 22 points, 6 rebounds and 5.7 assists since his one game suspension on December 3rd.
  • Key for Raptors: need to be quicker to the basket than Charlotte and find a way to get Wallace, Jackson and Thomas out of their scoring rhythm.

Wednesday, December 15 - Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the first time these two teams have met this season.
  • The Chicago Bulls have no players out with injuries at the present time.
  • For Chicago: Joakim Noah ranks 2nd in NBA for rebounds per game. Derrick Rose is tied for 4th in NBA scoring, is second in the Eastern Conference.
  • To date, the Chicago Bulls are 12-8 and have won their last 3 games. They will challenge the Lakers, Timberwolves and Pacers before taking on the Raptors next Wednesday.
  • Key for the Raptors: play solid team basketball. No one player, not even Bargnani, will win this game for them. Be solid and consistent to shut down the ranks and record holders.

Thanks for joining me today. I am looking forward to meeting some dedicated fans of the DNB at Friday's game. See you all on Tuesday for another edition of NBAz in 7 Dayz. Have a great weekend.

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