stressed_man

Toronto vs LA. The sky is not falling…

mini-bugI’m kinda hoping that a different LA turn up to the somewhat sporadically indifferent team that I’ve watched over the past few days… it’s been somewhat tough.  Very rarely in the past 3 games have LA looked like a team that’s at all interested in winning.  There’s been finger-pointing, innuendo, blame-shifting… not at all pleasant.  Pau Gasol was on the money tho’ when he suggested,
“We need to find some balance with our interior game, develop it a little more, moving the ball and changing sides…”
LA play there best ball when they pass the ball around, and start insided-out.  Gotta get back to that.

At the moment, LA seems to be simply going through the motions during the remainder of the regular season, but will appear come playoffs (as suggested in Silver Screen & Roll’s “*insert witty and relevant title here*“). No need for panic as yet.  Disappointing?  Sure, but nothing worth getting upset over.

I agree to an extent.  Sure: a three-game losing streak isn’t something the defending champion should be carrying around, but it’s not like it’s been forever since LA played well.  Only last week LA beat Denver, and then completely dismantled Indiana.

But still: as seems to happen post every somewhat-puzzling LA loss, there’s a lot of hand-wringing from the fans.  What does the loss to Orlando mean in the big scheme of things?  Well… not a lot.  Teams lose.

I’m a bit worried about their mindset, but not that much.  Do LA need to get back onto the winner’s podium?  Sure.  Is it time to sound the klaxons?  Ummm… no.

acorn

And what better tonic could there be than playing Toronto in LA?  They present the perfect opportunity for several reasons:
  1. They’re not an absolute crapola team that the Lakers will find it hard to get enthused about. 
  2. They’re not one of the overwhelmingly elite teams tho’.  The way LA have played their last 3 games, ChickenLittlewe don’t want that.  Yet.
  3. Chris Bosh is back, reinforcing point 1. 
  4. This is a bit of a revenge game too… with the Raptors having defeated LA when they played in Toronto…
  5. Can LA really put up a 4 game losing streak?  I don’t think so… 
LA haven’t panicked yet, and I’m not about to run around screaming “THE SKY IS FALLING”!
Hang around after the jump to read a blog-interview with a Toronto blogger…
Behind Enemy Lines

I also got to talk with Romy Aquino from Hoop Heads North – a Toronto Raptors blog… here’s what he had to say:
Don (With Malice): So, Toronto have at times looked almost like true contenders, yet at other times have reverted back to Raptors spelt with a “C”. What gives?
Romy Aquino (Hoop Heads North): Well, on the positive side of things, the Raps have had a few surprises this year. This has been one the deepest benches in a while, Jarrett Jack has really stepped up to take that lead point guard role and the addition of a “throw in” over the summer, Sonny Weems has proven to be an integral part of this team. Chris Bosh has been a beast in his contract year with his 20 pts, 9 rpg this season.

On the negative side, Hedo hasn’t been all that he was cracked up to be. He didn’t show up in shape and has yet to show that he has earned his fat contract. He even has a “Pizza, Pizza” commercial that portrays him as lazy and unfocused.


If the Raps want to be considered a true contender, they have to start winning games on the road. They shown that they can get it done at home, but they also have to start putting together some road wins.

Now February was a good month for Toronto when they faced off against a series of teams with losing records but now since the All-Star break, Chris Bosh, Jose Calderon and Hedo Turkoglu have been off and on with injuries. The Raps have to have a strong March in order tor prove that they’re the real deal.


WM: Chris Bosh. Is he in your uniform next season? If so, does anyone join him?

HHN: I think so. The summer of 2010 has been a lot of hype, but I see most of the big guys like Lebron, D-Wade and Bosh sticking on the same squad. “IF” and I mean “IF” Bosh does decide to leave, he won’t take the “Vince Carter” route and leave Toronto with nothing. He’ll make sure that Toronto will be in good hands (by taking a sign and trade) if he decides to leave.

WM: I’ve been to Toronto, nice city. I even went to the Great One’s restaurant (but the burger was average). What’s the best thing about it?
HHN: The cold weather.
WM: ???
HHN: Haha, just kidding. I don’t live in Toronto (I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the East Coast of Canada) but I’ve been to T.O. quite a few times. Probably the best thing about Toronto is how diverse the city is. One of the reasons Hedo came to Toronto (instead of Portland) was that his wife loved how multicultural the city is.
WM: How are the Raptors going to do in the playoffs?
HHN: Well, in order for Toronto to have a successful season, they have to make it past the first round of the playoffs. Colangelo has spent so much time and money restructuring this roster that a successful postseason is a must.

I’m still not convinced that they are a second-round lock, especially when they’re likely not to have home court advantage. So, chances are they’re facing one of four teams: Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando or Boston. And that’s going to be one tough task to get past one of these powerhouses. Are they capable? Of course. It’s just a matter how well they have gotten their stuff together before the postseason. If they get hot and go on a run at the end of the season, I see the Raps making it out of the first round.


WM: No secret that LA’s struggled over the last two games, almost in spite of themselves. Are the Raptors going to win this one?
HHN: Ugh. The Lakers are now on their first three-game losing streak in two seasons as I write this? That’s not good for the Raps. As much as I’d like to see the Raps pull this one out, it’s unfathomable that the Lakers will go on a four-game losing streak, it’s against the law. The odds are stacked against the Raps on Tuesday.

WM: Thanks for dropping by Romy!
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