3 in the Key - Raptors' Game Day Preview vs. Spurs


The even that was "Jeremy Lin beats the Toronto Raptors" took over this morning's HQ post...so let's cut to the preview for tonight's match, a toughie against a surging San Antonio Spurs club.

No beating around the bush, here are our three keys:

1) Forget about Lin. This is the big one really. We've seen games this season where the Raptors lose a tough one, only to put in a poor effort the following match as it seems they haven't put the previous night's loss behind them. So with that in mind, they need to treat tonight's match against the Spurs like any other, and that they weren't the victims of a game-winning three by Jeremy Lin, just 24 hours ago.

And even that on its own might be doable but consider this; the Raptors are 1 and 3 on this current homestand, losing those three by a combined total of 11 points. So it's easy to see how the Dinos could come out pretty flat tonight and against a club like the Spurs, that's just not an option.

2) Someone other than Jose has to step up. Another big one. Jose has been carrying the club offensively of late and he needs some help. I'm not talking 14 points here and 12 points there (unless four or five guys are putting up numbers like this around him of course.) I'm talking dominant sidekick jobs, like 25 points or 14 points and 12 rebounds etc. Toronto just isn't getting that type of production and they're going to need it tonight. The Spurs have the eighth best offensive efficiency mark in the league (Knicks are 23rd by comparison) and can flat out score the ball. The Dinos have struggled in this respect all year, so could use a major shot in the arm tonight if they want to keep pace with San Antonio.

3) Close out games. Obviously this one may not apply if it's a blowout early, but it's something this team needs to start doing a better job of, even to end quarters. Some of our readers may very valid points about the team's ineptitude in this department during last night's liveblog, as Toronto let the Knicks back into the game slowly but surely, instead of stomping them out once and for all. Sure, the losses are good for lottery ball purposes, but at some point we need to see this team develop a better "sealing the win" attitude, and tonight is as good as any a place to start.

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