That may have nothing to do with tonight's game between the Hornets and Raptors but it is important to speak up and bring light to the subject. Far to many people have lost lives due to impaired driving and it is a serious matter that effects us all as people. In our little fantasy world that is pro sports it is not going good for the Raptors. Bargnani missed the last game with the flu. His status for tonight last reports I saw was still up in the air. While rumours swirl about Chris Paul eventually moving to New York, the future of the Hornets franchise in doubt with league stepping in and buying the team, it has not stopped the Hornets from being one of the bigger surprises in the NBA this season.They sit 5th in the Western Conference and as it stands now would have a first round playoff date with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The one thing you can take heart is despite the Raptors struggles, the team existence is never in question under the ownership of MLSE. That being said after 16 years Raptors fans seem fed up. MLSE even announced lowering prices on tickets next season. A response to the drop in attendance and fan interest this season. A surprising move still from a company that has not always responded in this way. Leaf fans are very jealous. But there is always that whole question of if there will be a season to deal with.
The Basics: Hornets 35-26 ( 3-7 in Last 10) Raptors 16-44 (11-20 at ACC)
When Last We Saw Them: The Raptors started the game as if they were shot cannon a 22-3 start only to fade and burnout like a comet. The Mavericks by the end of it had laid a pretty serious butt kicking on the Raptors. As mentioned the Raptors were without Andrea Bargnani and While DeRozan was good he could not take his game up a level to make up for the loss. Nor could the rest of the Raptors.
Key Match-ups: Raise your hand if you are worried about Chris Paul being matched-up with Jose Calderon. For all those that raised your hand....me too. Calderon has had some successful nights vs Paul though. One of more successful you have to go back to New Year's Eve 2007. Calderon had 17 points and 12 assists while Paul bettered his numbers with 23 points 16 assists and 7 rebounds it was the Raptors getting the 97-92 win in New Orleans. But Calderon is not the same guy now as he was then. You can argue Paul isn't as well. But an injury free season is getting Paul back in the conversation as on the best point guards in the league. In that game back in 2007 David West had 33 points to lead all scorers. He has done well in his career against the Raptors. Shutting him down will also be a big factor. Bayless, Jack, Belinelli all will be playing against former team and could have some added pep in their step. Another problem for the Raptors will be Emeka Okafor who has adjusted nicely since coming from the Bobcats to join the Hornets.
Other Things of Note: Hornets have dominated the all-time serious between these 2 with a 30-18 advantage all-time. Hornets back in January came up with a 85-81 win and will look to return the favour from last season and sweep the Raptors and surprisingly the Raptors swept them in 2009-10 season. How good is Chris Paul? Here is how he compares to 2 hall of famers in Magic and Isiah through 400 games :
- Magic Johnson Steals: 944 Points: 7248 Assists: 4097
- Chris Paul Steals:960 Points: 7576 Assists: 3982
- Isiah Thomas Steals: 934 Points: 8307 Points:4109
You can see why the Knicks might have some interest in him. This is the last game for the Raptors before they make the long trip to London for back to back games with the Nets. Who also have a really good point guard in Williams. Paul and Williams in the same division with Rondo and Holiday as well. Raptors need to upgrade at the point guard spot if they hope to compete in the new Atlantic Division. Myck Kabongo potentially could be a guy that could do that. But he has yet to even play a college game yet. Raptors would like to head to England on a positive but that is going to be difficult.
Where Is On? Sportsnet 1 ( Hockey Trade Deadline Coverage apparently is not done yet.)