"Behind Enemy Lines"

This week will be an interesting one for the Toronto Raptors. It's getting down to crunch time - Christmas is just around the corner and whether they celebrate the holiday or not, the Raptors are praying for a few presents in the form of wins. Call me crazy but the Raptors have the potential to walk away from the upcoming week with a 3-0 record. Yes, even against the Lakers. Keep reading to find out why.

Friday, December 17th - New Jersey Nets @ Toronto Raptors
  • This will be the first time these two teams have met this season. The Raptors won all four contests versus the Nets last season.
  • New Jersey acquired Sasha Vujacic from the Los Angeles Lakers and 2 first round draft picks in a three-way deal with the Lakers and Houston. Vujacic was with the Lakers his entire career (7 years) before the trade and has appeared in 11 Lakers games this season averaging 1.8 points in less than 5 minutes per game. Unless New Jersey gives him a different role, the Raptors don't have to be stressed about Vujacic.
  • Anthony Morrow is out for New Jersey for 2-3 weeks with a strained right hamstring.
  • Key for Raptors: Watch for Jordan Farmar to start alongside Devin Harris in the backcourt. Farmar has been averaging 25 minutes and 10 points in his last three games.

Sunday, December 19th - Los Angeles Lakers @ Toronto Raptors
  • This will be the second time these two teams have met this season. Although the Lakers won 108-103 during their last meeting, it was only by five points and the Raptors scored 38 points to L.A.'s 22 in the second quarter.
  • L.A. acquired Joe Smith in a 3-way trade with New Jersey and Houston. He brings experience to the team since he has played 15 years in the league. However, he has only played in 4 games this season for New Jersey with insignificant impact.
  • Andrew Bynum and Derrick Caracter are back in the line-up for the Lakers.
  • Raptors need to watch Kobe Bryant and his decoy role playing. Against Indiana Wednesday night, Kobe scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half to beat the Pacers 109-94.
  • Key for the Raptors: The Lakers are winning games but they have to work for it and not all are coming easy. They have faced fourth quarter deficits in 7 of the 9 games they played before meeting the Pacers Wednesday. If they can come out strong in the first half and find a way to stop Kobe and his late-play antics, maybe just maybe this game could go in the Raptors' favour. Maybe.

Wednesday, December 22nd - Detroit Pistons @ Toronto Raptors

  • This will be the second time these two teams have met this season. On Saturday, December 11th, Detroit botched a 25 point lead and handed Toronto the game (120-116 Toronto).
  • Terrico White (broken right foot) and Jonas Jerebko (partially ruptured right Achilles tendon) are out for Detroit.
  • Raptors need to keep an eye on rookie Greg Munroe. He has had 2 opportunities to start for Detroit and is looking to prove himself.
  • The Key for the Raptors: Detroit has been showing signs of improvement but have a long way to go. They have been putting up 20 point-plus leads but then unable to close some of those games. The Raptors need to capitalize on this misfortune and rebound, rebound, rebound.

Thank-you for joining me today. More "NBAz in 7 Dayz" will continue on Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend.

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