Jay: Raps vs. Hawks Preview
Old 04-02-2008, 12:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Jay: Raps vs. Hawks Preview

As far as I am concerned, the Raptors should consider themselves as losers of 2 straight. That “win” over the Bobcats, you know, the one where they managed to hang on, didn’t have any sort of defensive presence, shot 73% from the free throw line, outrebounded the Cats by 1 and essentially showed no toughness at all. The toughest thing about the Raptors right now is Primo Brezec’s groin, because to quote Primo, “I told you guys, the groin is a gangsta.”

If the Raptors have any illusions of being a serious basketball team right now, they have to get their heads set straight, because they are not even close. This was a Bobcats team that has no Morrison, no May, no Harrington and Gerald Wallace has been banged up all season and the Raptors weren’t able to stop them. This is a team that is 22nd in the league in scoring.

What I also found very worrisome is that far too many times, the Raptors were looking to make the extra pass when a strong move to the basket would have finished the play. In a strange turn of events, Jamario Moon seemed to figure this out, nice that he has brought this element of his game out with a few games remaining in the regular season. Sure, he went 3-6 from the line, but at least he was finally getting there. It’s strange, but you would think that a guy who can dunk like Jamario, would always be looking for any opportunity to dunk, especially if he could posterize somebody. Remember back when Shawn Kemp would dunk on anybody any chance he got? Remember how suddenly the only thing he was dunking was donuts? What the hell happened there? Anyway, I digress.

So moving into the Hawks game, the Raptors are coming in facing a young Hawks team that is quietly moving up the standings, presently occupying the last playoff spot in the East and playing well at home. They have won 4 straight and will be doing everything they can to try to catch Philly and Toronto in order to get a more favourable first round matchup. Joe Johnson and Al Horford were just named the Eastern conference Player and Rookie of the month respectively, showing the nice gel they have going with the youth and vets. The addition of 9 year vet Mike Bibby has also provided some punch and calmed their backcourt.

The Raptors are going to have to show a little toughness against the Hawks. They have been bullied before by the Hawks this year and showed a startling lack of aggression back when TJ’s injury occurred. If the Hawks sense that same sort of passivity this time around, we will really find out who is hungrier going into the playoffs.

Enjoy the game.
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