The trade deadline has come and gone and the Raps look the same today as they did yesterday and the day before that. The biggest news in Raptors land?
For those of you who live under a rock the NBA trade deadline was yesterday and the Raps stayed put. Despite having dreams of Colangelo dealing Hedo Turkoglu for well...anything, the Raps didn't make any moves at the deadline.
A little bit curious, but not unexpected.
The Raps have been playing good ball as of late and getting a team to give up a veteran scoring two guard for very little does not happen that often. That being said I am not convinced this team has what it takes to win a first round match-up given their current starters at the wing spots.
I have no doubt that Colangelo was active but apparenlty there was nothing to be done that made sense. Unlike fantasy sports, in the NBA you don't make a deal just to make one.
As a result, the Raps move ahead with the same roster. It will be the success of this roster that will go a long way in determining the future of Chris Bosh.
Speaking of Bosh, up until tonight Bosh had been the only Raptor to have started every game this season, but with a tweaked ankle he won't be suiting up to face the New Jersey Nets. If he was going to miss one game all year this would be it.
There's no question that Bosh and his production will be missed, but in all honestly his absence makes this game a lot more interesting than it likely would have been.
Why? This will be an opportunity to get some sense of what this team could look like should CB4 decide to pack his bags and head elsewhere this summer (shy whoever is brought in to replace him).
Tonight is an opportunity for guys like Andrea Bargnani and yes, even Hedo Turkoglu to shine. Yup, the same Hedo Turkoglu who is feeling the wrath of Raptors fans as of late.
Slowly but surely the shine has worn off the Raptors big off-season acquisition. To date he has been a major disappointment and if his play doesn't turn around quickly he is likely to face more of the same home crowd boo's heard in the game against Memphis. If his play doesn't elevate soon it could result in a very uncomfortable situation for all parties involved, including the man who decided to sign him to the five year deal.
Turk has to turn things around and tonight provides him with a great opportunity to do just that. Hedo Turkoglu is actually the first key to tonight's game.
1. Hedo Turkoglu: Hedo has to be better than he was against Memphis (although I am not sure he could have been worse) for the Raps to pull this game out. If he is a non-factor tonight and the Raps lose to the lowly Nets there will be a lot of serious questions being asked. On the flip side if Hedo can play to a level similar to what he showed against the Knicks a while back that would go a long way towards quieting the boo birds.
2. Bench Play: It's not just Hedo that needs to step up tonight. Everyone who gets PT tonight will need to play a little better and do a little more to make up for the absence of CB4. I would say the bench crew of Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and Jose Calderon are ready to take on that assignment. The Raps bench is much more talented than that of the Nets and is a huge advantage in tonight's game.
3. Crush 'Em Early: The Nets have actually played two decent games since the All-Star break and as we all know anything is possible on any given night. The Raps need to get up on the Nets early and kick 'em when they are down. Letting this Nets team believe they can steal a win could end up being disasterous. Raps need to come out strong early (looking at the starters here!) and keep the pedal to the metal.