Well, I guess we have to go back a long way to see what the Raptors did against the Bobcats last time around. In one of the stranger scheduling bumps, the Raptors are playing the second half of a home and home with three days rest in between. Then again, after the pathetic performance we saw Monday, they might have needed those three days to give the search party enough time to find some game for them.
I was watching Raptors TV last night and in an interview at practice, some of the media guys were asking AP about whether or not the team still thinks they can make the playoffs. It was almost painful having to watch him answer the question, as obviously, he didn’t want to come out and say, “IS YOU CRAZY?” but at the same time, he didn’t want to make it sound like the team thought everything was sailing along just fine. He gave the usual speech about taking it one game at a time and that anything can happen, so he said all of the right things, but you could see it in his face.
To tell you the truth, writing pre-games for games like this one (where you just got whupped by a team that is slightly better than you, but not good enough to beat you like they did) is a tough thing to do. It’s tough because it is so easy to just say, “Yeah, all of that stuff you did in the last game? Well, do the opposite.” The Raptors had so many leaks in that game, it didn’t even matter if they were able to plug one, because others just opened.
The one big difference from the last game to this one is that the Bobcats hero from the last game, Gerald Wallace, suffered what looked like a season ending injury the other night.? It turned out that he only has a bruise, which may limit some of his explosiveness and if it does, then that only works in the Raptors favour.? If you can keep Gerald Wallace from attacking the basket with the same sort of authority, then you definitely have something working in your favour.? It will be important for the Raptors to realize that some of the other Bobcats are going to be stepping it up, because they know Wallace is hurting, but also because they can almost taste the playoffs and games against teams like the Raptors are the ones they need to take.
3 in the Key
1. The Raptors are going to have to get out to a quick start.? If they get down early, it will be tough to get over that as it will bring back memories of Monday night.
2. Pressure Wallace.? The Raptors need to find out just what that injury is all about.? Is it more serious than he is letting on?? Is it going to slow him down?? Find out early.
3. Andrea needs to get that inside-outside game going in order to expose some of Okafor’s weaknesses.