The Raptors face the most hyped team of the 2011-12 season. It also became the landing spot for Reggie Evans the former Raptor for the past 2 seasons. I often make jokes about how many point guards they have in Minnesota but how about this team with Chris Paul, Chauncey Billups and Mo Williams. Now Billups when Paul is healthy plays at the shooting guard possession. Speaking of shooting guards any game in L.A means a return home for Demar DeRozan. If your thinking this will mean a big day for Demar DeRozan think again. In 4 returns home in his brief NBA Career he has only averaged 8.7 points and shot 14/43 for 32.5%. So if he is going to have a breakout game in L.A today would be his first.
Jerryd Bayless and Andrea Bargnani are both on the trip and both game time decisions. When these guys come back the Raptors hope this will address their struggles on offence. Today with or with out them that will include dealing with some shot blockers in Griffin and Jordan for the Clippers. Getting points on the inside is not going to be easy. If you are going to drive to the hoop you better do it with purpose. If you don't the highlight dunk you were thinking about could turn into a highlight block real quick. The Raptors in their latest lost got crushed on the glass. That is where there former team mate will make his mark. Reggie Evans as we got to see when he was healthy is a beast on the boards. Blake Griffin is also no slouch on the glass.
The Clippers have had some big wins on their resume recently. They have got the benefit of this crazy NBA Schedule early with 9 home games already in which they are 7-2. They are 8-5 overall so bottom line is they take care of business at home. The environment in L.A for Clippers games has changed. They are bringing in more fans than in the past thanks to all the hype. The Staples Center is rocking now for not just Lakers games. Today will be a tough task for the Raptors regardless of who is playing.
Compete on the Glass: If you don't do it the chances of beating this Clippers team will greatly decrease. The Clippers are going to attack the glass on both ends and if the Raptors have a performance like they did against Portland they are toast.
Value possessions: This Clipper team is looking to turn you over and get out and run. That is what makes Lob City Hi-lights happen. Chris Paul is one of the best at taking the ball away at his position in the league. Clippers will be lurking in the passing lanes looking to get those easy picks and transition baskets.
Transition Defence: This team as just mentioned wants to run. The less easy points you can give this team the better it is for you. They really don't need your help with all the talent they put on the floor. So don't make it easy for them. Get back and defend and make them have to beat you in half court.
The reality is the Raptors are likely looking at loss number 8 square in the face. Clippers while extremely hyped do have talent to back it up. The Raptors will need to play an incredible team game on both ends to have a chance to win.