The Raptors never seem to catch a break. After their “Hell Week” which featured three games in three nights then a three game slate against Eastern Conference elites such Atlanta, Indiana and Chicago the Raptors have now faced a tough Western Conference road trip followed by a away-home-away four day stretch against the Nets, last night’s game against the Hawks, and now today’s challenge in the Garden.
Now every team in the NBA has had difficult schedules, but the Raptors have seemed to have had a lot of games against playoff teams on back to back nights to start the season. Combine that with Andrea Bargnani’s injury woes and the fact that the Raptors are just not that good, and you can see why the Raptors are sitting at 7-15 right now.
Beyond the Raptors rather hard luck to start the season is a very tough match up against Boston, who have absolutely owned the Raptors as of late at the TD Garden, winning seven straight at home against the Dinos. Toss that in with a pissed off group of veterans who are motivated to defend home court off an embarrassing loss to the Cavs on Sunday and you have what might be a long night for Raptors Nation.
Luckily for the Raptors, Boston is having their own share of injury problems with Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, and former Raptors free agent bust Jermaine O’Neal all experiencing nagging injuries. While it is not a shock Jermaine is experiencing injuries from his well documented issues at the end of his Indiana run as well as in Toronto, the injuries to Allen, Rondo and Paul Pierce at the beginning of the season has slowed down the veteran Celtics squad.
But the Celtics vaunted defense should give the offensively challenged Raptors problems. With Andrea Bargnani’s absence leaving the Raptors without a clear primary scorer, look for the turnovers to yet again increase as Dwane Casey’s offense has yet to settle in with the young Raptors.
Tonight does give Ed Davis a special chance to test himself against one of the greatest power forwards of all time, Kevin Garnett. I always like to see how Davis reacts to marquee match ups, so tonight will be interesting to watch how Davis plays against the veteran KG, who has the reputation of eating up young players. (Ask Chris Bosh)
Tonight’s game tips off at 7:30 PM EST.