What to watch as the Raptors aim to bounce back in Philly after a rough loss at home (8PM, TSN2, FAN590).
Anybody Hungry? Forget the numbers, the biggest factor for the Raptors has to be regaining that “desperation” Dwane Casey mentioned frequently after Friday’s loss to the Nets. For the first time this season, the Raptors didn’t seems to have that hunger that either made them winners or kept them competitive in their first six matchups of the campaign.
Casey certainly wasn’t irate by any stretch after Friday’s loss, but he didn’t sugar coat it whatsoever. Watch his post-game comments below and keep an eye on how the Raptors come out of the gates tonight in Philly.
What Do The Sixers Have In Store? I was speaking to a colleague on our broadcast side about this current grueling stretch for the Raptors and both of us agreed that tonight’s matchup in Philly is probably the most compelling.
Are the Raptors the fringe playoff team many claimed they might be after their effort in the first six games or the lottery-bound squad they’ve been labelled by some after last night’s loss?
A date with a likely playoff team that’s currently playing well (the Sixers are looking for a fourth straight win tonight) after the Raptors were easily beaten by a struggling unit the night before should provide an interesting test.
Get To The Point: The Raptors had a very difficult time containing an elite-level point guard in Deron Williams on Friday. Williams returned to the Nets lineup following a one-game absence and put the total package on display. Whether he was facing up or posting up in single coverage or making the Raptors pay for collapsing on him when he drove to the basket, Williams had his way.
He’s easily the best lead guard the Raptors have faced to date this season and they’ll see another good one tonight in Jrue Holiday.
Cut Down The Long Distance: New Jersey didn’t shoot it particularly effectively overall (39 per cent), but did more than enough damage from the behind the three-point line with a whopping 15 makes on 31 tries on Friday.
With a protect the paint mentality defensively, the Raptors may be a little more susceptible to long-distance shooting, but when just one of DeShawn Stevenson’s 13 field goal tries is inside the three-point line or Anthony Morrow is taking and making four of six three-point attempts by halftime, they simply have to do a more effective job closing out on those shooters.
Get On The Glass: Don’t let the box score fool you, the Raptors were outrebounded badly through three quarters of play before cutting into that a little when the game was out of reach in the fourth. The Nets are by no means a good shooting team, which is going to create more opportunities, but Kris Humphires equaled his entire former team in offensive rebounds (nine) while the Nets outscored the Raptors in terms of second-chance opportunities 28-8.
With the Sixers averaging more total rebounds than the Nets per game, Toronto needs a better result on the boards.