3 In The Key - Toronto Raptors Game Day Preview vs. Indiana

The bleeding continues as the season marches on.

The Raps continue to lose and on most occasions there is very little to celebrate.  

Can the Raps finally get a win tonight against the Indiana Pacers.

Before discussing the Raptors in this preview I thought I would talk a little about their opponent on this evening, the Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have really become a team forgotten in the Eastern Conference.

It has been years since they have been even marginally relevant and despite making some good moves this off-season have continued to struggle to find an identity.

It's not like they don't have some nice young talent to use, it seems like a situation where the sum of all the parts is less than one would expect. The have a great swingman in Danny Granger, an up and coming big man in Roy Hibbert and their PG of the future in Darren Collison.

Apparently Larry Bird feels the same way having relieved Jim O'Brien from his head coaching duties and now looking for answers. 

I can't help but wonder if the Raptors organization isn't heading down a similar path. 

Despite the countless injuries (and the clear lack of talent) this season is starting to shape up as one that can be defined using one word - failure.

Even if you try to extract positives from this season (DeRozan's offensive growth and more lottery balls) you have to ask just how this team has become one of the worst team's in the league. The only team behind the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Standings right now is the Cleveland Cavaliers and if I am the Cavs I can't wait to play the Raps.

So you have to ask, shouldn't someone be held accountable for this? If so, who?

If you are the brain trust at MLSE you have to be asking these questions by and realizing there are no simple answers.

Triano has been far from perfect but he is also dealing with weak roster devoid star talent. Should he bare the responsibility for this debacle and be shown the door like O'Brien?

Or maybe it's the players themselves. Linus Kleiza has disappointed, Andrea Bargnani has not embraced being the face of the franchise and on many nights you are left looking for more. 

Or does it all fall on the shoulders of Bryan Colangelo, the man responsible for assembling this mess? With this being his last season under contract is he throwing in the towel? Is he focused on something else?

To me it's all of the above - everyone carries some responsibility for this failure and in my opinion should this losing streak continue on for a few more games something has to happen and someone has to take the fall.

At what point does the organization start looking for a new GM? Is there another Sam Presti or Daryl Morey out there waiting or his shot? Or maybe all this team needs is a fresh leader a new voice in the locker room. 

I won't pretend to have the answers, I just know there are lots of questions that need to be asked and how this season is playing out is simply not acceptable. 

Until then there are games to be played and for everyone's sake I hope tonight the Raps finally get a win. If they expect a W these are the three keys.

1. Don't Hang Your Head - It is getting embarrassing now with the losing streak in the double digits, but if the Raps wan't to get back to winning they have to embrace the challenge and tonight is going to be a challenge. The Pacers could very well come out with a new attitude now that there is a new head coach and each of their players will be looking to impress. If the Raps come out flat with no life this streak will inevitably continue.

2. Attack the Rim - When the going get's tough and the jump shots are not falling there is only one answer - attack the rim. Both DeRozan and Bargnani need to look to take it into the paint at every opportunity to either get to the line or increase their likelihood of scoring. Thhis means no hanging out at the three point line. It also means some ugly turnovers at times but if this becomes a jump shooting contest and things go the way they did against Minnesota Larry Bird will, for at least one night, look like he knows what he is doing replacing the coach.

3. Just Find a Way - This team needs a win desperately and even though I bet comfortably on the under for wins on the season (26.5) I would really like to see this slump end and see some smiles return to the Raptors players faces. It means fighting through injuries, toughening up and doing whatever it takes to get a win, including stopping the like of McRoberts and others who had a field day against the Raps earlier this season. The Raps just need to win, it's that simple. 

If they don't  snap this streak soon the temperature needs to be turned way up on the people responsible for this mess.

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