The Week Ahead: November 28- December 4

Well the four game road swing didn't go so hot. Sure there are always positives but the fact remains that the only thing the Raptors are coming home with is a little sun, but no W's. This week the team has two home games and two road games, but due to the fact that venue and home cooking does not seem to matter it's hard to say this week is going to be any better. There is a titanic match-up this week however which will get an enormous amount of coverage.....

Monday, November 28 vs. Dallas on the SCORE

Nothing like coming back from an unsuccessful road swing only to bring in one of the West's best. Dirk, Terry and the boys have played some serious ball early beating some of the league's best teams (Detroit, etc.) while still fighting off injuries, a retirement, and the handicap of having Erick Dampier.

It doesn't look like this team misses Finley at all, and their young guns like Josh Howard and Devin Harris are looking great. It will be interesting to see if Hoffa can continue his improved play here at the ACC since no-one gets jeered at home as much as he does. I'll be watching to see if they run a play or two for him right off the bat to get his confidence up. It would be great to get Dampier off the floor early because everyone will be waiting in anticipation to see Hoffa display his WICKED arsenal of moves against the other All-Star center.....Dasagana Diop....expect a high number of fouls this game, mostly attributed to the 5 spot.

Wednesday, November 30 vs. Memphis on Sportsnet Ontario

If there is a team out there that looks much better than what I anticipated it would be the Grizz. Eddie Jones is filling up the stat lines, Stoudamire is proving to be a nice addition and Pau Gasol is taking his game to a whole new level. Going to be a wicked match-up between Gasol and Bosh, but when you look at this guy and his beard you have to wonder whether it is just a matter of time before he suddenly goes completely "Cast Away" on everyone's ass and simply refers to the ball as "Spalding".

Could be a good match-up between Shane Battier and MoP/Joey Graham. Battier always seems to step up against the Raps so keeping him off the glass and scoresheet could be crucial. Battier is shooting over 55% from the floor. Talk about knowing your role and selecting your shots.....should someone send Jalen a tape of Battier's game?

Friday, December 2 at Altanta on TSN

Clash of the Titans. This game would have received way more hype if either Altanta or the Raps were still winless. That being said while writing this I realize Atlanta has twice as many victories as the Raptors. This Atlanta team is undeniably run by a 6'7" Sf who wants to build a whole team in his image. This roster is like a group of Lemmings, they are all exactly the same, except for Zaza....I wonder if he parents looked at the alphabet and thought they would cover all bases by simply using the first and last letter. Look for Toronto's front court to have their best game of the year.

And how are Atlanta fans not furious that they passed on Chris Paul who looks more and more like a young J-Kidd everyday. Oh that's right....there are no Atlanta fans.

Please Raps, you HAVE to win this game.

Saturday, December 3 at New Jersey on the SCORE

Well now that New Jersey is starting to get a little flavor of the real VC (his poor back), and the real DNP- Coaches Decision Lamond Murray, Raptors fans are all breathing a collective sigh of relief. Here's a game the Raps can steal, go into the swamp and make a quick get away. They simply need to explode right from the get-go in the first Q and play with energy....something similar to your average American shopper on Thanksgiving weekend (the humanity!).

Another tough match-up for Joey Graham. Perhaps to the surprise of many he has not exploded onto the scene but the learning curve for Joey is a steep one. Expect Jalen to get exposed on numerous occassions. Another great chance for Hoffa to pound inside and make the stick Kristic pay everytime he enters the paint.

Prediction: All in all this week is a lot easier than last one. Let's see them put something together, 2-2.

HOWLAND

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