"Behind Enemy Lines"

Due to NBA All-Star Weekend, the Raptors are off for a few days and only play two games before next Friday. DeMar DeRozan will be working hard, though. He is in the Rookie Challenge playing for the Sophomore side on Friday and representing the Raptors on Saturday in the Slam Dunk Contest. He has the most support and talent around him and has a really good shot at challenging the Blake Griffin Show. Moving onto this week for the Raptors, they host Charlotte at home on Tuesday and visit the Bulls on Wednesday. Let's dive in.

Toronto Raptors @ Charlotte Bobcats - Tuesday, February 22nd
  • The Raptors and Bobcats have played twice this season. Charlotte won both times: November 10th - 101-96; December 14th -97-91.
  • During their last meeting, Toronto lead the first quarter by nine points (29-20) and Charlotte picked up the lead in the second - sustaining it through to the end.
  • This game saw the Raptors' starters outscore Bobcats' starters 64-62. Jerryd Bayless had 17 points on the night - tops for the Raptors and Nazr Mohammed put up 18 for Charlotte.
  • The key to this game seemed to be the energy off the Charlotte bench. They combined for 35 points from 4 of their players, while the Raptors' bench put up 27 from 3 of five players.
  • Bobcats Inactive List: Matt Carroll, Desagana Diop and Tyrus Thomas.
  • Bobcats Head Coach Paul Silas signed a 1-year contract extension Wednesday and is no longer just the interim coach. Under his leadership, the Bobcats are now within one game off the Pacers for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
  • Raptors need to watch: Gerald Henderson. In their last game against the Bulls, the Bobcats' bench put up 43 points, almost half of which were Henderson's (22).

Chicago Bulls @ Toronto Raptors - Wednesday, February 23rd

  • The Raptors and Bulls played twice this season. Chicago took both contests: 110-93 on December 15 and 111-91 on January 4rth.
  • During their last meeting, Chicago lead at the half by 18 points (59-41). Toronto rallied in the third but the effort wasn't enough.
  • This is where it gets interesting. Toronto's starters that night outscored Chicago's by 10 (69-59). However, Chicago's bench was far superior and put up 52 points to Toronto's 22.
  • As of Thursday, Chicago sits at 37-16 on the season and third in the Eastern Conference.
  • Bulls Inactive List: Joakim Noah.
  • Raptors need to watch: The obvious? Luol Deng and Derrick Rose. Deng had 24 points versus Toronto during their last meeting and versus the Bobcats Tuesday. 2011 All-Star Derrick Rose put up a double double (18points, 13 assists) against the Bobcats Tuesday. The not-so-obvious? Keith Bogans and Kyle Korver. Both were successful from three point range three times Tuesday. Do not leave these guys alone.

Thanks once again for joining me this week. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Keep them coming by following me on Twitter (@ddegraauw) and on Facebook (Danielle de Graauw). Have a great All-Star Weekend and see you on Tuesday for more NBA news (including All-Star Weekend) in "NBAz in 7 Dayz".

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