"Behind Enemy Lines"

Who do you think is the most valuable team in the NBA right now? Miami fans may say the Heat and while it is true they had the hugest jump in value percentage, they still sit in the seventh spot according to a recent report. Give up? The New York Knicks. They have jumped over the Lakers for top spot as the most valuable franchise in the NBA. Forbes magazine ranks them as number one and valued at $655 million due to an increase in ticket sales and sponsorships at Madison Square Garden. The most troubling part of their report? According to Forbes, 17 of 30 teams in the NBA lost money last season. Unbelievable. More than half the teams in the NBA? Good news for the Raptors, they sit at 10th on Forbes most valuable NBA team list. Let's hope one day that's their rank in league play. This week, the Raptors take on the Bucks, Timberwolves, Pacers and Hawks. Let's get at it.

Milwaukee Bucks @Toronto Raptors - Friday, January 28
  • This will be the first time the Bucks and Raptors will meet this season.
  • As of Thursday, the Bucks are 17-26 and 9th in Eastern Conference (5 spots ahead of the Raptors).
  • Milwaukee notable: Bucks signed guard Garett Temple to a 10-day contract. Temple, 24 years old, has appeared in 30 games with San Antonio, Houston and Sacramento over the past two seasons.
  • Milwaukee Inactive List: Brandon Jennings (left foot), Drew Gooden (left foot) and Michael Redd. John Salmons has been out with a right hip injury but was rostered against the Hawks this week but no playing minutes logged.
  • Raptors need to watch: Garett Temple. He started the fourth quarter against the Hawks this week after only one practice since being signed to the team Tuesday. He made a solid impact on their defense in the dying minutes of that game.
  • Key for the Raptors: The Bucks are putting on a happy face. They have lost 10 games in their last 15 and the Raptors need to play consistent and push the right buttons.
Toronto Raptors @Minnesota Timberwolves - Saturday, January 29

  • This will be the first time the Timberwolves and Raptors will meet this season.
  • As of Thursday, the Timberwolves are at the bottom of the West, 10 and 35.
  • Timberwolves Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been like the Wayne Gretzky of the coaching world this season. Lots of talent and experience coaching a less than mediocre team. (Rambis was 14 years in the NBA as a player, 9 seasons with the Lakers. He spent 7 seasons as an assistant coach with the Lakers beside Phil Jackson before coming to Minnesota).
  • Timberwolves Inactive List: Lazar Hayward and Kosta Koufos.
  • Raptors need to watch: Forward Kevin Love. He had 31 points, 21 rebounds and shot 3 for 3 from behind the 3 point line for the Wolves against the Thunder during their last meeting.
  • Key for the Raptors: This team is fighting stay alive but this is the kind of team that can be the most dangerous and unpredictable. They have nothing to loose. The Raptors need to make sure they do loose by sustaining a lead of at least 10 throughout the game - not letting the lead change hands.

Toronto Raptors @Indiana Pacers - Monday, January 31

  • The Pacers and Raptors have met once already this season on December 6th. Pacers took it 124-100.
  • The Raptors edged them in the 3rd quarter of this game in points but the Pacers held on in the rest.
  • During this last meeting, the starting Pacers were all in double digits: Danny Granger put up 21 points. Only the Raptors top three saw double: Jose Calderon also had 21.
  • Indiana Inactive List: Dahntay Jones, Josh McRoberts and Lance Stephenson.
  • Raptors need to watch: Brandon Rush. He had 26 points off the Pacers bench against the Raptors in December.
  • Key for Raptors: Have a stronger bench. Barbosa and Bayless both had twelve points each off the bench when they last met the Pacers. They need to be able to go the distance with this team.

Toronto Raptors @ Atlanta Hawks - Wednesday, February 2
  • The Hawks and Raptors met twice already this season. Toronto lost both times.
  • During their last meeting on November 28th, Atlanta lead the first 3 quarters in scoring. Toronto tried to rally in the 4rth but it wasn't enough. Final score 96-73 Hawks.
  • Top four Hawks in double digit points versus two in the Raptors line-up. It was Bargnani and DeRozan for the Raptors.
  • As of Thursday, Atlanta is 5th in the East at 29 and 17.
  • Hawks Inactive List: Josh Powell, Pape Sy and Marvin Williams.
  • Key for Raptors: Don't let them have the lead for more than one quarter if that. On their first meeting of the season on November 28th, Atlanta lead the scoring in the 1st and 4rth quarters and lead the first three in the second meeting. The Raptors need to pace themselves, no costly turnovers and be strong in the fourth.

As always, thank you for joining me. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming on Twitter (@ddegraauw) and on Facebook (Danielle de Graauw, purple jacket/red microphone). Have a great weekend and see you again on Tuesday for more NBA coverage in "NBAz in 7 Dayz".

No comments:

Post a Comment