They say defense wins championships; but it hasn’t been winning games for the Toronto Raptors this season.
Believe it or not, the Raptors have held their opponents to under 100 points a league best 14 times this season. On the flip side though, their offense hasn’t been nearly as efficient.
Already having two games in this young season without being able to reach 70 points, the Raptors are now in an abysmal stretch without leading scorer Andrea Bargnani. Without Il Mago, the Raps have averaged 10 less points per game.
The man who’s supposed to step-up in Andrea Bargnani’s absence – DeMar DeRozan – has failed to live up to expectations this season. DeMar stepped up big-time in Andrea’s absence last season, but this season is a different story. In his last two games, he’s combined for just 9-of-33 from the floor.
Certainly, the slower the Raptors play in their half-court offense, the more DeRozan suffers.
The Blazers like to run though, so that may just give DeRozan some fuel to get some transition points tonight.
Portland got off to a great start this season (7-2); but since then have lost 4 of their last 5, and have fallen to 8-6 on the season. They’ve also lost 5 of their last 7 on the road; so the Raps will be glad to be back home tonight.
Without Bargnani; Amir Johnson and …*shrug*.. Jamaal Magloire will have to step-up to stop LaMarcus Aldridge, who leads the Blazers in scoring with 22.5 ppg.
- Andrea Bargnani – Strained calf, didn’t train with the team, will not play.
- Jerryd Bayless – Trained with the team but still not 100%. Will be a game-time decision
- Nicolas Batum – Had his eye poked against Atlanta, X-ray results came in negative; he’ll play tonight.
The Raptors will look to avoid 7 straight losses not only on the season, but also against the Blazers whom they’ve lost to six straight times.
Tip-off is at 7pm Eastern.