3 In the Key: Toronto Raptors Game Day Preview vs. Indiana

The Raps head to Indiana to finish off the home and home mini-series with the Pacers.  

Can the Raps sweep? Shouldn't be an issue.

The Raps are now facing easily their easiest stretch of games all year. 

The Pacers, Kings and Nets combine for a total of 36 wins. Each of the Cavs and Lakers have more W's this season on their own.

The long and short of it is that it's time for the Raps to make hay and really make a push. If the team is able to keep gathering W's then suddenly the Raps go from potential sellers at the trade deadline to potential buyers. It's a whole lot more exciting when your team is looking to add a piece or two in hopes of being able to make some noise in the playoffs then blowing it up (see 76ers).

Oh, and the winning is good for keeping the franchise player around as well. 

Speaking of CB4 a comment from yesterday's recap really stood out for me. Mas11 had the following comment:

Not enough love for Bosh...

Maybe its just me, but I don’t think CB4 gets enough love, even from his home town fans…

 

I couldn't agree more. 

Chris Bosh has, before our eyes developed into one of the best players in the league. Although not at the same level as Kobe or Lebron he right behind them with the likes of Chris Paul, Paul Pierce and Dirk Nowitzki. The season he has managed to put together thus far is borderline spectacular. His growth as a player has been special to watch and there is no sign that he has peaked. It's not hard to imagine him becoming the league's best power forward...if he isn't already.

What's bizarre is that as soon as you mention Chris Bosh it seems to incite a negative reaction in some people. There seems to be a belief that if you are a Bosh fan then you are not an Andrea Bargnani fan, or vice-versa. I have to say I don't know why this is the case. Both players are having great seasons. Andrea is really coming out of his shell while Bosh has become dominant. Why can't they both succeed together?

The simple reality is that so long as CB4 is here in Toronto this will be his team and much of that is because he is simply the better player at this stage. However, the success of the team lies on both of their shoulders.  Given how young these two players are shouldn't we as Raps fans be hoping for a future that has them both featured? 

I digress. 

Now onto tonight's three keys:

1. Feed the Bigs - One thing the Pacers don't have with the likes of Tyler Hansborough and Jeff Foster on the sideline with injuries is a deep front court. I look for Bosh and Bargs to get tons of looks in the paint and for the game plan to be very similar to that used on Sunday night. The Raps need to expose match-ups and there is a clear advantage here should Granger once again be forced to defend either of these bigs. Starting off the game hoisting jumpers would simply play into Indiana's hands.

2. Bench, bench, bench - If the Raps get the same effort as they did on Sunday from Jose Calderon and Amir Johnson I am not sure the Pacers have the talent or firepower to keep up. The Raps bench has been a real asset as of late and solid play in the early second and fourth quarters would go a long way to securing the W. If Hedo Turkoglu can't go the bench production is going to be even more important. 

3. Close Out - Although the lack of bigs should make it easy on Bosh and Bargnani to get some easy open looks it also forces the Pacers to rely on the outside shot. Roy Hibbert is developing as a player but he is still a ways off from being a true presence on the blocks. If the Raps can get a hand up and close out on the shooters the Pacers will be out of options. 

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