The first time these two teams met this season, it didn’t turn into the TJ vs. Calderon or JO vs. Former Team game that everybody had hoped it would. The Raptors took it easily, TJ wasn’t really a factor and while JO came just short of a double-double, it wasn’t exactly what you would call an inspiring night from him.
But this time, coming into the game against the Pacers, it’s a little bit different scenario. There is not going to be any TJ/Calderon matchup and JO may or may not play. I guess if you had to look for a silver lining to the situation, the Raptors are coming into the game against the Pacers losers of three in a row, whereas last time, they were losers of 5 in a row before heading to Indiana. It’s a stretch, but it’s what I have to work with right now.
TJ was back to his old self the other night, scoring 23 points along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists…and that was off the bench. Could it be that TJ was getting himself warmed up for his second engagement with the Raptors? Let’s hope not. The good thing is that Jose won’t be on the floor, because the last thing the Raptors need right now is Jose trying to guard TJ on a bum leg. One cut and we would all hear Jose’s hammy pop. I have been impressed with the play of Roko, not only on the offensive end, but on the defensive. Sometimes he looks a little lost, but he has been good at moving his feet and staying with his man. The quick looks over his shoulder occasionally result in him getting beaten to the lane, but he’ll learn.
The Raptors are going to have to pull down some rebounds in this game, because the Pacers do have some guys who can crash the boards. The rebounding problem reared its ugly head again against the Bulls (who beat the Cavs tonight) and if the Raptors have those same kind of problems, you can chalk up another L. You can only shoot the lights out so much before you have to get on the glass.
3 in the Key
1. Don’t let the Pacers’ big men dominate. Get on the glass and push them away from the basket.
2. Feed your horses. Andrea has been playing solid ball lately, so don’t wait too long to get him some touches.
3. Stay out of foul trouble. Andrea will need to keep his hands to himself and keep his feet moving. If he is on the bench early, there could be trouble.