Let’s throw the “game” against the Heat out the window, as far as I’m concerned, this is still a Raptors team that has lost 5 in a row. Coming into a game against the Cavs, I’m still not sure if the game against the Heat was a good thing for them or not. On one hand, it allowed them to get Bosh back into the lineup, without putting too much pressure on him, but on the other hand, it may give them a false sense of security that everything is back on the right path. Sam Mitchell was talking about how good Andrea and Jamario looked against the Heat, but I mean, really, it’s the Heat. They probably would have faced a greater challenge lining up against Eastern Commerce. Those are the kinds of games where you expect guys to have good nights…if not, then you are in worse trouble than you think.
Some have talked about this game as a playoff preview, which it could be, but the playoffs are still quite a bit away and I’m not sure if the Cavs have completely sorted themselves since the big trade that brought Big Ben over. In my opinion, I think they got a little slower, but having Ben Wallace in a new scenario may help to rejuvenate what has been a disappointing season for him. As Bosh mentioned, the Raptors’ bigs are quicker than the Cavs’ bigs, but what he hasn’t factored in is that the Cavs’ bigs may be tougher than the Raptors’ bigs and the Cavs also have some dude named LeBron who will break the Cavs franchise scoring record tonight. If the Raptors are able to use that speed to generate some early fouls against the Cavs’ bigs, then we are talking. If they can manage to get Big Z to sit a few more minutes and get Big Ben to start slapping at the ball as he has tended to do in the past couple of years as he has become slower, then they might be able to utilize that speed to an even greater extent. This may be a game where instead of looking to Bosh in the high-low, you see what you can develop up top off of some dribble penetration. That will require Jose to attack and trust in his ability to finish or dish last minute. That also means that when TJ sees the floor, you can probably count on some more shenanigans, because if Sam is talking about anything related to dribble penetration, for TJ, that goes in one ear as “TJ TIME”, rattles around as “Score, score score” and then goes out the other ear to resounding cheers (in his mind). I’m still pulling for the guy, I like his game when he’s thinking, but this is the kind of game where he can expose the weaknesses of the Cavs’ D…if he doesn’t force the issue. Otherwise, LeBron will capitalize on every turnover.
Enjoy the game.