So, yeah, it’s been awhile. What can I do? And now, hopefully, it won’t read like a 3 year old wrote it.
I’m gonna start off with a little story first. It was 2000 or 2001, I can’t remember right now, but the Raptors had a big time match up with the 76ers on a Sunday afternoon on NBC (really, I loved that John Tesh piano intro). Anyways, the Raptors in December had made a big trade, moving Kevin Willis for Keon Clark. The 76ers were being powered by Allen Iverson and Aaron McKie. And while, I can’t remember a lot of the details of the match right now, I remember it being an entertaining game that SLAM once called the best game of the season. I remember that the Raptors won, in Philadelphia, and the new team started to come together. It was a moment that I won’t forget because it was becoming cool to become a Raptors fan and I felt that we really arrived as a franchise.
Fast forward to 10 years later (give or take a year) and well, we have this. Does anyone in the NBA really care for this match up (do the fan bases care)? It’s amazing what time will do. Both teams seemed so full of promise and close to ‘something.’ Now, well, we have this.
The Raptors, seem to play their best basketball at home and considering that they played a competitive match with a more talented Memphis team on Monday, I’m optimistic that the Raptors can FINALLY snap their losing streak. I’m sure a lot of Raptor fans will also be ogling Andre Igoudala as it seems that a lot of people feel he should be the player Bryan Colangelo should be targeting for a trade (A. Why would Philly trade him within the division and B. Bosh is a better player yet we didn’t want his contract (allegedly) so why take a on an even more overrated player?) I’m scared of Jrue Holliday in this match up as he always seems to have a knack for beating us with his quickness and if Jose’s in the game, well, hopefully Bayless could contain him.
If there was a ever a time for Andrea to get going this would be the match. It’s not only about his scoring. It’s about defending and getting after the rebound. Speights and Hawes, have length, but they’re not great rebounders. Yes, Brand is in there (and having a nice season), but if you can’t take advantage of Spencer Hawes then well, I dunno any more.
DeRozan, well it’ll be interesting who gets the defensive assignment as I’ll venture it’ll be Igoudala, who could use his size to muscle him out. The nice thing about Monday’s game was that he wasn’t the first person on the defensive end leaking out to get a fast break opportunity. He used a lot of his jumping ability to grab some boards and he seemed to have a knack for it. Considering who he was going up against in Gay, Mayo and Allen I expect much of the same here.
With the Raptors though, I don’t know where the rest of the offense is going to come from though. Is it going to be Amir? Is Sonny going to provide a bit of a spark? Is it going to be Bayless? Gaines?
With Philadelphia, you don’t know what you’re going to get either. Is it going to be a team that works inside out with Brand and Iggy? Are they going to rely on penetration and hope Holiday can get easy looks? Is Thaddeus Young going to continue to elevate his game as he has over the past 6 weeks? If so, who on our team is versatile enough to guard him? Is it going to be Lou Williams, who I feel always hits 3s after 3s against us? Are we going to be dumb enough to play zone when Philly runs out a rotation of Williams-Meeks-Kapono-Young-Hawes? What’s the bet that we do, considering the zone got us back in the game against Memphis and somebody will think, hey that worked last time let’s do it again!
Really, I’m anticipating a game of bad basketball. Hopefully Evan Turner shows up and justifies his 2nd selection and DeRozan shows up and a great game ensues between a couple of young wing player, reminiscent of that earlier age. And maybe, just maybe, just like in that earlier match up between two top teams and we saw some growing up occurring right in front of our eyes, we’ll see it again.