After two bad nights, Toronto Raptors bounced back against Dallas Mavericks, despite a sloppy start.
They are still on the top of the Atlantic Division, but from now on, the fight to keep this achievement will be hard. The Brooklyn Nets aren’t joking around anymore.
So, a win against the worst team of this Division, and one of the worst of the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers is a must do.
The Sixers are counting on the young and hungry to win talents of rookie PG Michael Carter-Williams, whose career looks very promising, (season stats: 17.5 PPG, 6.7 APG, 5.9 RPG, and 17.88 PER) .
The rookie has isn’t alone, because this teams consists of SF Evan Turner, 25, their best scorer (18.7 PPG), a more experienced but yet young (25) Center but with 41.4% FG beyond the arc, Spencer Hawes and PF Thaddeus Young.
They may not be winning a lot but last game was a success against the struggling New York Knicks at MSG. So, Raptors must be extremely careful tonight.
In order to make 2 straight wins, the Raptors must:
1. Eliminate Inconsistency. During the last three games, our team played bad in general. Despite bouncing back against Dallas, the inconsistency in their game is something that everybody is seeing. They are losing their focus during the game, which is costly enough to lose, as they did against Lakers when they lost a 10+ lead, and Charlotte, when they were trailing by 30 points, even if they tried to bounce back at the end. This has to stop tonight.
2. Move the ball and play smart: I know, it seems that I’m copy-pasting this phrase, but this element of our game, as well as with strong defense are the keys of our current success. I’ve watched during the last games, that the ball isn’t moving as it was earlier (a strong example is that during the game against Dallas, during the disastrous 1st quarter, the team had only 2 assists), and there are players that are needlessly rushing their shots (Greivis Vasquez is an example). They have to be more concentrated during offence, and move the ball better. They have to go inside and get as many foul calls as they can. Demar DeRozan is one of our key players doing that, and he’s doing it extremely well all season.
3. Play strong Defense. The inconsistency that I was telling about was starting from the defensive end. They have to play hard all game, and especially they must be careful at their perimeter defense. These “young guns” of Philadelphia can “shoot”.
I’m sure the Raptors are fighters, and they will win tonight. Injuries and fatigue aren’t helping our players to play at a high level each and every game. But the winning mentality must stay. The schedule is getting difficult, and the trade deadline of 20th February is approaching, so if they win they will stay together, otherwise we will hear the “tanking bells” again.