Toronto vs. Portland Trailblazers Preview

The Raptors look to snap a 6-game losing skid against the Trailblazers Friday night at the ACC.

THE TORONTO RAPTORS

Record: 4-11

Last 5 games: 0-5

Last game: 96-73 loss to Boston Wednesday January 18, 2012

Really? SG DeMar DeRozen – 11pts (4-16), 5 turnovers, 0 dimes

Injury Report: PF Andrea Bargnani and PG Jerryd Bayless did not play and are still listed as day-to-day. Centre Aaron Gray made his season debut for Toronto last night after missing the past four weeks with a heart ailment.

Turning Point: The Celtics held Toronto scoreless over a six-minute stretch in the first quarter, as they opened up an early tight 9-8 game with a 13-0 run and never gave up the lead the rest of the game.

Pros: PF Gary Forbes had a team-high 18 points for Toronto off the bench.

Cons: The Raptors dropped a season-low 73 points in the loss and they have now lost six straight games.

Stat Leaders: PF Andrea Bargnani 22.3ppg – PG Jose Calderon 8.7apg – PF Amir Johnson 8.1rpg

Next Game: The Portland Trailblazers in Toronto Friday, January 19th, 2012.

Portland’s Record/Standing: Currently are 8-6 and stand 4th in the Northwest Conference.

Key Matchup: PF LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Toronto’s frontline.

Commentary

No doubt about it the Raptors are missing Andrea Bargnani’s offence. But two players who aren’t stepping up to fill that scoring void and should be are SG DeMar DeRozan and PG Jose Calderon.

DeRozan, in my opinion should be shopped around while his stock is still lukewarm. He just isn’t aggressive enough or skilled enough to be playing the 2 spot in the NBA. Calderon on the other hand just tends to disappear.

Rondo went off on him from the get-go last night scoring 13pts in the first quarter alone and “El Matador” didn’t take up the challenge. In the world of the NBA, if you’re not a good defender, the best defence to a good offence is a better offence. He scored just 9pts last night against Rondo but it’s the 4 dime, 3 board performance that’s really inexcusable.

The Raptors next take on Portland Friday in the Big Smoke. The Trailblazers are coming off a 92-89 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Their roster include the likes of high-flyer 6’7 Gerald Wallace, 44-year old vet Kurt Thomas, PG Jamaal Crawford and All-Star in-the-making LaMarcus Aldridge. Crawford poured in a team-high 22pts for the Blazers last night in the loss against the Hawks with Aldridge collecting a doubledouble with 11 boards and 20pts.

Aldridge is going to be a nightmare for the Raptors down on the blocks Friday. The 6’11”, 5th-year product from Texas is a physical big body that possesses a deadly low-post game.

I expect Toronto head coach Dwayne Casey to double team Aldridge as much as possible or perhaps play zone enticing his teammates to shoot the ball. The only other scorers on the team are Wesley Matthews (who?), Crawford and Wallace.

All three are up and down, streaky players as evident with Wallace & Matthews dropping just 8pts and 10pts respectively last night against Hotlanta.

TheHoop-La Team

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