Tuesday, November 15 at Philadelphia on TSN and Wednesday, November 16 at Toronto on Sportsnet
One of the few home and home's on the schedule. After a shaky start the 76ers have started to win some games even though they are missing their best shot blocker and starting center in Samuel Dalembert. It is hard to tell at this point what kind of team they have in the city of brotherly love and whether C-Webb can play at a high level. Remember the days when the rumour mill spat out a Vince for Iverson deal....oh if only! The Raps don't have an answer for AI (pardon the pun) and this could be a long 48 hours for the Raps. The match-up I want to see is Joey G. against Kyle Korver. This is a great opportunity for #14 to break-out and the Raps need him to in order to validate having him in the starting line-up. We all know Mo-P is chomping at the bit wanting to hear his name in the pre-game introductions.
This game also marks another visit by RaptorsHQ favorite Andre Iguodala. Jalen better have his runners on because this kid flies. Even writing this makes me realize a few sick crams are likely to be thrown down by this impressive sophmore. Let's see who Mitchell puts out there to play center this week.
Friday, November 18 at Boston on SportsNet Ontario
If there is a winnable game...this is it! Boston is also in a rebuilding stage although a year ahead. Guys like Al Jefferson and Delonte West have a year of experience under their belts but this team also has three rookies on their roster. The Raps had a pre-season matchup with this squad where Graham was introduced to the "Truth" Paul Pierce, it was great to watch. This Boston team starts Mark Blount. If there is one night a year where I feel good about our front court it's this night. We need to get good contributions from CV Smooth and New Hampshire native Matt Bonner.
The Raps have to pull this out, simply because Bill Simmons will lose his mind. If we are still winless prior to this game then this is a must have. The upcoming schedule is tough. Look for Ricky Davis to make it tough on the Raps though as he has played great ball as of late and you can just tell that now he "gets it". Davis vs. Rose.....yikes maybe this is not such a winnable game.
Sunday, November 20 vs. Miami on TSN
This is where the schedule gets really tough. Even without the Diesel, Miami is a talented team from top to bottom. D-Wade is obviously the man and is proving to be the second best player out of the 2003 draft. Although Miami is having some internal struggles (what did they expect when they brought in the Glove and Employee Number 8?) they are still winning games. There may not be a better team on paper, except maybe San Antonio. Guys like Udonis Haslem and James Posey are just solid. This game also marks the return of one Alonzo Mourning. Other than perhaps VC there is no other former Raptor that should be booed as much as this guy. RaptorsHQ staff member Jeff Chapman has aired his grievances . Imagine if we had him playing center, how different would this team be?
Expect a good crowd at the ACC, some serious booing of Zo and some highlight reel plays....just don't expect a Raps win.
Prediction: 2-2. Raps better surprise this week because the following week they have a West Coast swing with no home games.