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The Week Ahead: December 19-25

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Monday, December 19 @ Orlando on the SCORE

Bosh vs. Howard. The two best bright young PF's in the game. It's going to be a battle folks so put the weak of heart and children to bed, sit back and enjoy. Only problem is Bosh will be coming off a match-up with C-Webb and a long flight south. An excuse hell no, not for Bosh. It might be for the rest of the squad though.

For the Magic this team is hard to read. They just got Grant Hill back (who scored 28 in his last game) but Steve Francis is beat-up. Jameer Nelson has his nights, but outside of these guys their talent level is not high. That's reflected in their 9-12 record. The strangest part about this team is that they brought back Brian Hill to be head coach. Are they not aware he coached the Grizzlies? The same Grizzlies who went 31-123 under his mighty reign! Look at that record! He may try and validate his coaching by the job he did the first time around in Orlando but anyone who has Shaq pretty much has it made and is guaranteed an above .500 winning percentage. Mind you he is probably the most successful Kennedy College graduate.

Another game that the Raps could win, but SURPRISE, any chance at victory starts with perimeter D.

Wednesday, December 21 @ Houston on SPORTSNET

How good is T-Mac? This is a completely different team with him in the line-up. I can't see this team going any further than the first round of the playoffs (if they make it), their PG is Rafer Alston. Wait....didn't we have him....that's right he was cancer in the flesh.

Yao leads the league in All-Star votes. Something tells me the fans should be banned from voting on the starting five for this game. Yao?! Have you seen this guy without T-Mac? And Vince third in the East for guards?! The NBA should just put the whole Carolina cheerleaders roster on the ballet; that way we could truly enjoy the "show" and then get down to some real ball with players that deserve to be there. Speaking of the All-star game their will likely be FOUR Raptors there, Bosh and the three rooks in the Shick Rookie-Sophmore game. The rookie game is always more entertaining than the regular game, this year it will be something special for Raptor fans.

For this game however, if Mike James hits his first few shots I think the Raps have a chance. You know he is going to want to go "Lord of the Flies" on these guys.....and eat them alive. Like I said they traded him for a bad disease. If he misses those first few expect a blow-out, in a bad way.

Friday, December 23 @ San Antonio on SPORTSNET

Every couple of years or so a really really bad team will beat a really really good team. Unfortunately it already happened to the Spurs when they lost to the Hawks. Not good for us dino fans. That being said the Spurs have their fair share of injury problems. Unfortunately their last 5 could beat our starting 5. This is no way to head into the Holiday Season for the Raps. It will be a bitter few days off for this squad. Not quite as bitter for CB4 who will likely spend the break in Houston anyway.

Greg Popovich is the best coach in the game today. You never hear a peep out of any of the players, even when there are not enough minutes, he continues to take low picks and turn them into stars, and he wins. He is essentially becoming the next Jerry Sloan and will coach in SA until he decides he wants to retire. Perhaps the most overlooked part of all of this is he is doing it in a small market.

This is going to be a long night and just one evening short of the night before Christmas......and speaking of the holiday's we managed to steal this years wish list of some of the Raps....

1. Rafeal Araujo: A break from the home fans. A new tatoo artist.
2. Matt Bonner: A chistle to chip away at the cement blocks around his ankles explaining his inability to play D.
3. Chris Bosh: An SOS flag and some REAL veteran help.
4. Jose Calderon: Neck braces for all his "friends" so they all have their heads up when the pass comes.
5. Joey Graham: A night where he can guard someone that does not have All-Star on their resume. Some Florida heat.
6. Mike James: Some respect.
7. Darrick Martin: He's on an NBA roster, he should want for nothing.
8. Morris Peterson: Some help from the other veterans.
9. Jalen Rose: Where do you begin...he probably wants a ton of things that his huge contract can't buy.
10. Pape Sow: A chance and a better wingman at the clubs than Loren Woods.
11. Charlie Villanueva: A lightbulb. So when he understands defense we can all be made aware of the fact he gets it.
12. Aaron Williams: A trade.
13. Alvin Williams: New knees.
14. Eric Williams: A trade or some PT. Someone decide.
15. Loren Woods: Some better luck at This Is London....and the hope that he will be playing pro-ball once his useless game is thrown out of Toronto along with the rest of the trash.
16. Sam Mitchell: Patience.
17. Rob Babcock: World's biggest thank-you card to Carrol Dawson, Steven A. Smith, and his international scouting staff.

And lastly RaptorsHQ wishes all of our readers bare with us during the tough times and let all their friends know about the site. Oh.....and maybe a Shaq for Loren Woods deal.....

Prediction: This team is better on the road. They had better start playing with pride....1-2.

HOWLAND