Toronto doesn’t have much time to pat itself on the back for last night’s accolades as they’re off to Indiana to face the Pacers tonight. Indiana is a team that is very much like the aforementioned Knicks; an offensive machine on some nights, a complete disaster on others.
Unlike the Knicks, I expect better offensive execution from the Pacers and Toronto will need to try and exploit Danny Granger and crew on the defensive end, an area they’ve struggled with all year.
These are two games that the Raptors need to win if they want to get back on track for third in the East so here are our three keys to the game:
1) Guard against the 3-point shot. With players like Mike Dunleavy Jr., Kareem Rush, Troy Murphy and the aforementioned Granger, the Pacers can make teams pay from deep. They are missing two of their main weapons in Jermaine O’Neal and Jamal Tinsley but this is still a very dangerous offensive team. Jamario Moon has felt the wrath of Sam Mitchell lately for not getting up on opposing players and it will be especially important for him and his compadres to do this tonight.
2) Get Bargnani going early. After last night’s match Chris Bosh stressed just how important it is to get Andrea going early. We’ve seen the proof of this so far this season and let’s hope that’s the case tonight. Bargs could be a major mismatch for the Pacers which explains perhaps why he was last night’s "Daily Dream" on NBA TV’s Fantasy basketball show and why he was picked to put in your fantasy lineups tonight by the TV show. However Andrea will also have to do a real number on Jeff Foster, one of the league’s premier rebounding centers. Andrea might score 20 points tonight, but how he plays on the glass against Foster might be the true indicator of what sort of game he has.
3) CB4. Simply put, the Pacers have no answer for Bosh. He’s too quick and athletic for Troy Murphy, and too tall and powerful for the likes of Granger and Ike Diogu. This is a huge advantage for Toronto and I’m hoping to see the ball run through him on each possession as this match has all the makings for a 40-point outing from Chris…something that bodes extremely well for a Dinos W.
As a final note, the results from an All-Star weekend survey that we participated are in and there are some interesting findings. Jeff Wong who now blogs at the Score headed up the polling and surprisingly it looks like a game of HORSE would be a better event to most bloggers than a one-on-one competition!