Coming off a heartbreaking but seemingly inevitable loss to the Warriors on Saturday evening and a 1-2 week overall, the Raptors now sit at 12-9 at the near-quarter point of the NBA season. This puts them right in the thick of things in what is the deepest Eastern Conference we've seen in a long time, as Paul Flannery wrote in his weekly shootaround.
The Raps have a very solid chance to go 3-1 this week as they face the (really) good: Spurs, the bad: Bucks and the ugly: Lakers and Sixers. Let's review:
December 7th vs. Lakers - Mamba Mania:
Tonight the Kobe Bryant farewell tour stops in Toronto for what will be his final time playing against the Raps on their home floor. (Although his last time playing in TO will surely be after fans vote him into this year's All-Star game.) It should be a no-nonsense win for the Raps although 6 man Lou Williams could have a revenge game up his sleeve.
December 9th vs. Spurs - Anything can happen:
While the Spurs once again look like legit Finals contenders with the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge paying huge dividends, the Raps will have a chance to knock them off at home like they did last season. The X-factor in that game was James Johnson, who hit what wound up being the game winning shot that night.
December 11th vs. Bucks - The Buck Stops Here:
Noted ref-hater Jason Kidd and the Bucks roll into town on Friday night. Despite predictions from many to take a jump on both sides of the ball this season, Milwaukee has done just the opposite, falling into the bottom ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Watching Bismack Biyombo and Bebe battle the Bucks bigs will be the matchup to watch in this one.
December 13th vs. Sixers - Sauce Castillo Night:
Although promotions should be in the theme of the home team who would say no to each fan who heads down to the ACC to watch the currently 1-20 Sixers receiving a bottle of Nik Stauskas' hot sauce? It would be a way to literally spice up the night for everyone involved.
I think a 3-1 week feels like a fairly safe bet. How do you think the Raps will fare in their games this week?