Game 29: Raps vs. Kings – Pre-game

The Raptors come off the Christmas break with a win in their hands, some time to relax and some time to actually practice.  Sounds like a good combination of things heading into a game they should take against the Kings. 

Toronto fans have been complaining a lot about the Raptors this season and one can’t argue with a lot of the sentiment since expectations were (for some reason) set so high before the season started.  But while the Raptors have been underachieving, the Kings haven’t really been doing a lot worse than people thought they would.  If Raptors fans are tired of seeing defensive lapses, just take a look at some of the errors they are going to see on the King’s side tonight.  They can’t play D.  Simple as that.  They’re just not a defensively minded team.  They don’t close on shooters, they don’t rotate to bring help off of picks, in essence, on D, they’re lazy.  It’s strange, because they have some good athletes, but being athletic doesn’t always equate to being aggressive.  When you give up almost 106 points per game, you are essentially telling everyone that you don’t even care about D.  The problem is, it’s not like you light it up on the offensive end either (96.9…still ahead of the Raptors), so I’m not sure exactly what they’re doing. 

What has compounded things for the Kings is that on offense, while talented (Kevin Martin could be the most underrated player in the league) they turn the ball over far too much, which kills their flow.  They have to rely on guys like Kevin Martin and John Salmons to save games for them and with Salmons’ lack of commitment, he’s not really a go-to guy when the game’s on the line.  They’re really left with one option.  Martin.  Even more than Artest, the guy the Kings are missing is Bibby.  When they needed a big shot, he could give them another option than Martin.  Now, there’s not much choice.

The Raptors are most likely going to see more minutes from The Executioner, as in limited time, he has shown some aggressive play, which is exactly what they have needed.  I’m still not as sold as everybody else seems to be on him taking minutes from Hump.  Sure, sometimes Hump gets a little carried away, thinking that he’s a scoring machine, but anytime he’s on the court, he’s hustling and he’s trying to get rebounds.  Maybe the Raptors are just going with Jake’s slight size advantage.  Either way, the Raptors will need to win the boards tonight if they are going to avoid allowing the Kings to break their losing streak, which is currently at 4.

3 in the Key

1. Get an early lead.  The Kings can’t play D, so if you are able to get a lead, you can pretty much rely on points not being hard to add later in the game.

2. Capitalize on turnovers.  The Kings are going to turn the ball over, so it will be important for the Raptors to push the ball and use some speed down the court to create points off those turnovers.

3. Don’t get outhustled.  There’s no excuse for getting outhustled by the Kings, a team that does not seem to want to work too hard during games.  They do, however, have a couple of guys who can turn up the intensity, getting rebounds and the crowd into the game.  Mikki Moore and Brad Miller can become a pain if you let them, so the Raptors will need to keep them off the boards early.

One Comment

Doc  on December 26th, 2008

Thank god Martin is out for this one. The game I think will still be tough for us, but had they had Martin I hate to say it but the Kings I think had the upper hand. Right now based on how both teams have played as of late, I’d say we’re even. 🙁

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