We kick off this edition of media watch with an article from Draftexpress.com concerning RaptorsHQ favourite Pape Sow. Sow was recently interviewed concerning his time in the NBDL by Draftexpress and in the interview, talked about everything from the quality of opposition in the D-League to his thoughts on a return to the Raptors. Of course the day before the article was printed, Sow was indeed recalled by the Raptors.
That recall however has not been without some dispute. The Toronto Star recently reported that Sow has been the latest wedge in the relationship between head coach Sam Mitchell and GM Rob Babcock. According to the Star, the two rarely talk now and Sow's recall is the doing of Babcock while Mitchell has always maintained that there's no playing time for the young prospect. Sow did play 4 minutes against Seattle in Toronto's win Friday night however it remains to be seen how much Sow will be used from here on out. While we here at RaptorsHQ aren't quite convinced of this reported feud, the Sow recall at a time when Eric Williams rarely sees the court, is indeed curious. Looks like we'll have to wait and see how this plays out.
Toronto's win over Seattle the night before last marked the return of Jalen Rose to the starting lineup. In my recent recap, I alluded to the fact that it would not be surprising to see Rose return to the starting lineup. Sam Mitchell must have had the same idea as Jalen was reinserted into the starting lineup and was a key reason for the team's win. From this vantage point it looks like Jalen's improved play is coinciding with his improved conditioning. Jalen looks quicker to the basket on offence and is moving his feet better on D.
And perhaps we're not the only ones who've noticed. Reports in the New York Post have the struggling Knicks interested in Jalen Rose once again. Although the report was from Mr. Trade Rumour himself Peter Vescey, you have to believe that if Rose continues his play, he will continue to garner interest as the trade deadline approaches.
GAME DAY PREVIEW
After the Raps failed miserably in their test against the Jazz earlier this week, this game would be in the words of EPMD - The Big Payback. The Lakers have been up and down of late; up in terms of Kobe Bryant's uber efforts and down in terms of their recent record. Rumoured dischord between Bryant and Lamar Odom isn't helping matters either for the Zen Master and the Raptors have the ability to ride into LA LA Land and steal one.
The Lakers on a whole aren't a great team talent wise. After Bryant and Odom you've got....Smush Parker? Brian Cook? Luke Walton? Yikes. In fact this team is really a testament to the coaching ability of Phil Jackson and the star power of Kobe Bryant. Therefore on paper, the Raptors definitely have a chance. Guarding Kobe Bryant is sort of like voting in tomorrow's upcoming election...none of your choices are great. Bryant will blow by you if you guard him up close, will post up on you if you're quick enough to stay with him and can dial it up from mid and long range. The key then for Toronto will be containing his creation abilities. Therefore the key will be that even if Bryant puts up 85, make sure the rest of his teamates don't hit a shot. Bryant will get his, but if the Raps throw ineffective double teams at him then Kobe will find teammates for easy buckets and things could get away from Toronto quickly. In any event, it'll be a long night for Mo Pete and any other Raptors assigned the dubious task of shadowing Bryant.
On the Raptors end of the court, feed Bosh. Even if Bosh has a tough time with the athletic Odom guarding him, his ability to get to the free throw line could be huge in getting easy points on the board for Toronto. Toronto's offence is enough to compete with the Lakers but it will be on the defensive end that Toronto needs to get the job done. This means no open Von Wafer dunks and no easy Chris Mihm putbacks. If the Raps can lock down anyone but number 8 on the Lakers and do a good job on the glass, this game is theirs for the taking. If not, this game will be a good indication that the Raptors still haven't gotten past beating basement dwellars.