Let’s take a look ahead at the Raptors schedule on this Monday. It is a week that features to Eastern Conference contenders and two lottery bound teams. In a week such as this it will be important the Raptors focus on the ones they can win.
Tuesday: Home against Miami
The Miami Heat are having a slow start to the season which likely is bad news for the Raptors. Miami evened their record at 2-2 with a 103-93 win over the Wizards on Sunday. There is talk in Miami already about this team being to comfortable early on. Dwyane Wade in article link talks about being in a long term relationship and how you let things slide. Keeping with the relationships theme Chris Bosh comes to visit his ex-girlfriend more or less in coming to Toronto for the first of two visits in the month of November. Safe to say the Heat will have lots of motivation in the form of boos directed at Bosh to get them motivated.
Miami perhaps in an attempt to change their image or maybe more to just look for some kind of break with a cheap contract have brought in Greg Oden. In the end if he could even become a quarter of the player he was hyped to be when drafted number one that would be a huge bonus for Miami.
Nothing in the Raptors first three games despite being 2-1 suggest that they will be able to hang with Miami if the Heat are firing on all cylinders.
Wednesday: At the Bobcats
The Raptors for whatever reason over the years have struggled to get wins over the team that has been the easiest to beat in the NBA for a couple seasons running. After what you would suspect would be a loss to Miami how will the Raptors bounce back in a traveling back to back situation.
What you almost hope for is the Miami game to be decided early so Dwane Casey can allow his team to rest and live to fight another day. Dropping a game to the Bobcats simply can’t happen if the Raptors are expected to tread water with their schedule that is starting to show its teeth.
The Bobcats did add Al Jefferson in the off-season which gives their line-up a bit of a change. They also drafted Cody Zeller and have Kemba Walker who at one time was the people’s choice in Toronto to get drafted here. Jordan still owns this team and is coming to terms with the mistakes he has made. I looked but you will not find an apology about cancelling the trade with the Raptors a few years back.
Simply put these Raptors are all about no excuses this year well there is none for losing to the Bobkittens.
Friday: At the Pacers
Indiana is sitting a top the Eastern Conference as this is being written with a perfect 3-0 record unlike last year the Pacers are off to a hot start and look ever bit the title contender they hope to be. Roy Hibbert is a year into his massive max deal and looking more like himself again. Paul George is the next big thing in the NBA for a lot of folks coming off an All-Star season last year.
The Pacers have a lot of depth so much so that losing George Hill who sat out Saturday hardly causes them to miss a beat with C.J Watson in to replace him. They also have an allegedly healthy Danny Granger back in the fold. The Pacers have positive problems in terms of depth. So much so that Pacers are struggling to find time for guys. Chris Copeland a free agent signing in the off-season has barely seen the floor.
What this all comes down to is the Raptors second unit could get smacked around pretty good in this one. The Starters will have their own issues matching up with perhaps the second or at worst third best starting unit in the East.
With a long trip to Utah the next night this again might be one of those game where if the Raptors raise the white flag early and accept their fate it is likely to their benefit.
Saturday: Home vs. the Jazz
John Stockton and Karl Malone are long gone for the Jazz. So is Deron Williams for that matter. This Jazz team is expected to top the lottery standings and early on they have lived up to that billing. However the level of opposition has been higher than the Raptors with games against the Thunder which they lost by 3 and Houston by 11 to the Howard led Rockets. Add in a close lose to the Suns and they are 0-3.
The Jazz starting five is a mix of old vets like Jamal Tinsley and Richard Jefferson mixed with a group of young players led by Gordon Hayward along with Kanter and Favors. John Lucas III is the back-up point guard in Utah after being the third string guy last year with Toronto.
This is a must win for the Raptors, but a game to be careful of, with the Jazz keeping things close in two of their three losses to this point.
So that is a look at the Raptors week ahead. We shall see how it turns out, but on the surface this week screams the likelihood of being 2-2 on the week and if that happens 5-4 on the season for Toronto.