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

James Johnson folks. I don't even know where to start - Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

The Raptors head into Sacramento for another away game this season. Kinnon Yee examines this game against another bottom feeder in the NBA

It's a race!

--- to the bottom of the league, as the Raptors and Kings struggle to determine who is among the worst in the league.

Not exactly what most of us hoped for this team this year.

And while the Toronto Star and Doug Smith lament the fact that the other night's loss was a "new way to lose", the headache for most of us is that it's what happens when your team doesn't establish their own winning pattern.

Like a lot of mediocre teams, the Raptors are now firmly entrenched in following whatever line ups other teams throw out onto the court so that they can "stay in the game".

If it sounds like you've heard this before, 3 years ago, you're not alone.

Similarly, the Raptors looked to push the pace to make it a faster paced game so that they could dictate the flow.

Again, stratagem that we've heard before, as early as last year.

For me, these endless "insanity spirals", as Adam has been pointing out, seem to have gripped this team since the end of the Chris Bosh Era. And being a fan or writer hasn't been easy.

It's like in "The Dark Knight Rises" when Bruce Wayne is broken and defeated and thrown into the Pit. The prison is unique in that everyone can see the blue sky which inspires hope, but in turn, that hope is used against the prisoners as a cruel reminder of what will never be. The inner walls are almost impossible to scale, and prisoner after prisoner have failed in their attempts to escape the prison.

That, in a nutshell, is what it feels like to be a Raptor fan in recent years. (And yes, I did buy The Dark Knight Rises Blu Ray the other day.)

Funny thing is, Sacramento's been feeling something similar as well. Since the Chris Webber years there hasn't been much to cheer about. There was a lot of hope that Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins would be able to lay the groundwork for something great in the future. If the Raptors hope to still find that final playoff spot, they better start winning against these bottom dwelling teams.

1) Don't play to your opponent's level - And I mean this both for Coach Casey and the players individually. This has got to stop at some point and against a team that is actually worse than the Raptors in several major categories, this shouldn't be a problem. More important than that is that I hope that the Raptors are going to finally establish some sort of winning pattern.

There's that word again, hope.

2) No excuses: out-rebound your opponent - The Kings are one of the few teams in the league with a worse record on rebounding than the Raptors. Yes, DeMarcus Cousins pulls down nearly 10 rebounds per game, and Jason Thompson grabs around seven. The Raptors still should have no problems as long as they actually play with some heart for the entire game

3) Just win baby - Al Davis said it best, but the Raptors have to start winning. There's no better time than the present.

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