3 in the Key - Raptors vs Denver, Game-Day Preview

The Raptors may have nightmares about Kenneth Faried tonight - Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE

The losing streak is snapped, but the questions surrounding the team still remain. Kinnon Yee reminisces about arguments made in the past and what bearing they have towards the future.

I've been writing for Raptors HQ for roughly six years now.

Some arguments have changed with time. For example, my feelings have changed about Vince Carter - elation, to disappointment, to anger, to sadness, to nostalgic.

My feelings for Bryan Colangelo have been pretty much consistent since that first off season when all he could do was sign Jason Kapono. He's a guy who sometimes gambles and hits large, but too often purchases players as their stocks are at all time highs only to see them come down to earth while in a Raptors uniform.

Yes, he sometimes manages to turn some solid trades around during the a season, but it often is to take care of previous missteps. See Shawn Marion regarding Hedo Turkoglu, and more recently, Mickael Pietrus regarding Colangelo's horrible attempt at filling our hole at the small forward position.

However, it could be argued that the Raptors are in the position where they are now because Bryan Colangelo has yet to correct his longest and most glaring misstep.

The problem is these are not new arguments. "Bryan Colangelo has got to go" is not a new thought amongst us and the readers at the HQ. Although MLSE has an option to remove him at the end of the year, I do not expect them to do anything, if they are going to do anything until the off season. That's partly because for all his faults, Bryan Colangelo is a consummate professional who is the face of the Raptors.

So for now, we're stuck waiting and hoping that he'll do what he hasn't done in seven years.

In the mean time, the Raptors roll into Denver to face the Nuggets in the midst of their own three game slide. Granted, they were against the Jazz, the Warriors and the Lakers, and all three were extremely close games. The Nuggets remain competitive despite overhauling most of their roster in the past year.

Arguably without a 1st grade talent on their roster, the Nuggets continue to be a tough team to put down thanks to the group play and the overall toughness of Coach Karl's team. For example, Danilo Gallinari is the current top scorer on the team, with only 15 points per game, but the entire team averages around 100 points per game.

It's why today's game may lead to a blow out. The Raptors face a team which has completely bought into the team concept, where as the Raptors are still trying to find their own. Key to their wins today are the following:

1) Close the Rebounding Gap - The Nuggets are second in the league in overall rebounding, and first in offensive rebounds. If the Raptors do not crash the glass consistently and fight for second chance opportunities, this game could be over quick.

Kenneth Faried is their top rebounder, but the Nuggets get a lot of rebounds thanks to their guards and small forwards. Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala both contribute heavily to the rebounding workload and it'll be up to DeMar DeRozan to do more than just score tonight.

2) Win the Free Throw Battle - The Raptors are facing one of the weaker free throw shooting teams in the league and need to use it to their advantage. Don't be afraid to foul hard and make the Nuggets earn it from the line, while on the other side, the Raptors need to keep getting to the line throughout the game.

3) Mickael Pietrus Redux - I was pretty impressed by what Pietrus brought in his debut. While I have lots of questions about why the Raptors would have even chose Dominic McGuire over Pietrus in the first place, the important part is that he's here now.

The Raptors need him to knock down the corner three, something they haven't had since Anthony Parker left town. More importantly, he's a big enough body to guard most threes in the league and the Raptors need someone with the quickness to do so. I'm looking forward to seeing if Pietrus can continue his work from the other day moving forward.

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