Tag:Jason Kidd
Posted on: December 17, 2008 11:00 am

Raptors - Mavericks - A Game Preview

Tonight, the Raptors host the surging Dallas Mavericks who have won 7 of their last 10 games with wins over the Grizzlies, the Bobcats, the Suns, the Hawks and the Pacers. They are 3 games above .500% right now and are .5 of a game out of 8th in the tough Western Conference. Having lost to the Nuggets in Dallas on Monday, they come into Toronto to start a short 2 game eastern swing, with the Nets hosting them on Friday, home to the Grizzlies again on Sunday, then they head out on a tough pre-Christmas tour of the West with games against the Trail Blazers, the Jazz and Clippers. They are looking to Toronto to be the start of a push back up the ladder in the West.

The Raptors are coming into the game with the memory of two stinging losses fresh in their minds losing to the Hornets on Sunday and the Nets on Monday. Both of those games the Raptors seemed to play aspects of the game well but could not play well in others and it cost them. Sunday, they were able to use their new defensive schemes to contain Chris Paul and hold him to 12 points and Peja Stojakovic was held to 10 points, but James Posey was left virtually alone all the time and scored 20 on 6/10 3 point shots and David West outplayed Chris Bosh scoring 29 points from the low post area. The Nets game was very much the same thing as they were forced to shoot and shot only 38.1% as a team, but when Ryan Anderson outscores Chris Bosh in the PF position, something is not right. Offensive rebounds allowed have become the team’s demise. The lack of rebounding coupled with a 0 – 14 shooting stretch in the 4th quarter allowed this game to get out of reach.

Tonight, the Raptors will be looking to Jermaine O’Neal and Andrea Bargnani to provide some solid work in the post as the Mavericks have been running a 3 guard offense and Eric Dampier averages only 6 points and 8 rebounds a game. Dirk Nowitzki leads this team with 26 points per game and with Jason Kidd on the floor, the duo looks to make sharp passes and find cutters and hit open shooters off dribble penetration which has been the weakest aspect of the Raptors defense all season. With Devean George and Jose Juan Barea on the floor, this Mavericks team looks to feed Nowitzki who is always happy to shoot.

Chris Bosh needs a break out game and tonight would be a good time to find it. With Jamario Moon or Joey Graham at the 3 spot, Chris should have the room he needs and if we can keep Dirk out of the paint, I like our chances. Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker as well as Roko Ukic should all have good nights as a group, but will need to continue to improve closing out on shooters on the perimeter. I think that this game will go a long way to revealing the character of this team and I hope the guys are up to it.


Posted on: December 15, 2008 1:13 pm

Raptors - Week 8 in Preview - Another tough week

Week 8 for the Raptors feels like more waves of a tsunami as we have the Nets again in Toronto, then Wednesday we host the 13 – 9 Mavericks who play the Nuggets tonight. Friday we are in Oklahoma to play the Thunder then head south to play the Spurs. Combined records of the Spurs, Mavericks and Nets – 39 – 28. We start the week 10 – 13 in 4th place in the Atlantic division and 10th overall in the Eastern Conference with the Knicks and the Bulls 1 game up and the Nets 1.5 games ahead of us for 8th spot. Considering all this team has gone through, we are still positioned well at this point and a few wins now would help not only mentally but over all in the playoff race as well.

Monday, December 15, 2008 – Raptors vs. Nets @ the ACC

Not much more to add from Friday’s game. Devin Harris and Vince Carter will have to be held to 17 points again and the Nets as a team need to be held to 31.1% shooting again. Can it happen? Sure it can. With Jose Calderon and Jason Kapono not having to guard players man on man for extended minutes, this Raptors team has developed a solid interior defense that has cut the points in the paint for the opposition to under 30 a game the past 3 games. A far cry from the almost 50 a game they were allowing. With Josh Boone back in the lineup and playing near 100% again, this will be a tougher Nets team who will be looking to rebound from the loss in New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 – Raptors vs. Mavericks @ the ACC

The Mavericks are sitting in 8th place in the tough western conference, .5 of a game ahead of the Suns who have 14 wins. Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 26.3 points per game and Jason Terry is averaging 20.8. Beyond those two, they have no one over 10 with Jason Kidd averaging 9.7 points per game. They have a weak spot at Center offensively but Eric Dampier continues to be a solid defender and provides them strength up the middle. With guys like Antoine Wright and Gerald Green and Brandon Bass, this team has a solid group behind Dirk and JT. This will be a huge testing game for Jermaine O’Neal and Chris Bosh and will reveal whether or not or to what extent our interior defense has developed since December 3rd.

Friday, December 19, 2008 – Raptors vs. Thunder

At 2 – 23 and only 1 game this week against the Clippers, this Thunder team has almost a week to prepare for this game. The starters look solid as a group with Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Nick Collison, Damien Wilkens, and either Johan Petro or Russell Westbrook, this team has solid offense but struggles defensively sitting at 25th in the league in opposition scoring per game.  The Raptors are currently sitting 20th which is improving every game. This is a game we should win and I look to our defense to stifle the Thunder all night long. I suspect that Jay will prepare them a bit more than that!

Saturday, December 20, 2008 – Raptors – Spurs

Rumors of the demise of this Spurs team were swirling as Manu Ginobili started the season hurt then Tony Parker went down. Too old, too slow, no one other than Manu could lead this team. Tim Duncan just wasn’t enough. Well, after 23 games, Manu is back, Tony is back and since starting 1 – 4, this team is 14 – 4 sitting third in the West with 6 straight wins over the Mavericks, the Nuggets, the Hawks, the Warriors, the Timberwolves and the Thunder. In the past 10 games they are 8 – 2 with losses to the Pistons and the Rockets. Aside from Tony and Manu and Tim, this team has more players averaging 10 or more points per game. Tony Parker averages 21.3, Tim Duncan 21, Manu Ginobili 15.5, Roger Jr. Mason 13.3 and Michael Finley averages 10.3 points per game. George Hill sits at 9.9 so that is 6 players at 10 or more points. Balance on offense and hard work on defense keeps this team at or near the top every season and why they can beat teams when one or two “star” players are not 100%. This will be a tough game for the Raptors as we don’t play well in San Antonio as a rule. The Spurs play two on the road this week at the Hornets and the Magic.

The key for the Raptors this week will be to allow the system the chance to work. Defensively we have come along way since December 3rd. We can now shut aspects of teams down and as we continue to work on the defensive game, we will develop that transition game that the good teams use to score the easy break points. Our rebounding needs to improve as it did cost us the game Sunday against the Hornets. A rebound at either end, and a couple of free throws were all we needed to win that game. Quality minutes from our bench seems to be the trend and this week we will need them to continue to improve and contribute more scoring as well as work hard defensively to keep games in check. They will not be able to let teams come back into games we are leading or let teams pull away from us and they have been doing both very well this past week.

Chris Bosh and Jermaine O’Neal need to develop more desire to drive the ball. The 15 foot shots are nice, but they are then out of position for the short boards that often result from the mid-range shots. Andrea Bargnani will be looked to from the bench and perhaps the addition of Jake Voskuhl will add some grit underneath. Jose Calderon looks much more at ease with a guard for a coach and seems to be freer to shoot when he sees the spot. Let’s hope that guys like Jamario Moon and Jason Kapono continue their improvement and work to stick their bums on people and box out at both ends. Anthony Parker I suspect will be hard pressed to get back into the lineup any time soon as the team suffered during his minutes on the floor on Sunday afternoon. Roko Ukic looks very good and relaxed with the ball and seems to be the only one who still drives the ball on this team. Should be a very interesting week for the Raptors.

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