Where to Watch: NBA TV (National, USA), TSN (National, Canada) at 8pm.
James Johnson didn't see the floor. The game was too early in the day. The offense was drier than the Sahara Desert. Greivis Vasquez' shimmy was so sexy that it rattled the team heading into overtime.
We've heard it all by now.
Game 1 is a distant memory. We've dissected every moment, second and frame of that dreadful afternoon to the point of exhaustion. The time for redemption is now.
We've seen this song and dance before. Remember last year against the Brooklyn Nets? A 94-87 loss at the Air Canada Centre with a 12:30 p.m. start in Game 1 looks awfully familiar (at least aesthetically) to the 93-86 loss to the Washington Wizards we witnessed just a few days ago.
The Raptors came back three days later and won a close Game 2 on the back of a strong offensive showing from DeMar DeRozan. Toronto fans can only hope that history repeats itself one year later.
The postseason is all about making adjustments that can/will (hopefully) pay immediate dividends. This isn't the time for Dwane Casey to experiment and go topsy-turvy with his schemes and rotations. He has a sound understanding of what his roster has to offer, at least for the most part.
*cough cough* James Johnson.
Seriously, I can only imagine the reaction the ACC faithful will have if Randy Wittman gives Paul Pierce more minutes at the 4 and the red-haired wonder doesn't get some run to combat him. The combination of Tyler Hansbrough/Amir Johnson/Patrick Patterson wasn't cutting it.
"James Johnson will play in a matchup situation," Casey said following Game 1. Well, if you ask me, there's no better "matchup" for a power forward Pierce than a mobile, hard-nosed defender like James.
*Dwane Casey's internal monologue*
I'd say the Raptors need to improve dramatically on the glass, but that may be asking too much of a frontcourt that doesn't play the same physical style (contrary to what Patrick Patterson thinks) as Washington's bigs. That 61-48 rebounding deficit (including 19-10 on the offensive boards) was cringeworthy, yet not at all surprising.
Shots need to start dropping in Game 2 as well. DeRozan/Kyle Lowry/Lou Williams were a combined 15-of-57 from the field on Saturday. All three are streaky shooters who need to see buckets fall to really get going, even though they'll continue hoisting up attempts until they force it on themselves.
Having to travel to the Verizon Center to win two games on the road would be a nightmare scenario for the Raptors. It's not to say that it couldn't be done, but it would certainly be one heck of a challenge to be sure.
Whatever "it" is, I suggest the players, coaching staff and the #WeTheNorth movement all bring some of "it" tonight.
As always, feel free to comment below during tonight's game with your thoughts, euphoric cheers and emotional scars when James Johnson ultimately stays on the bench. Enjoy!