Well it looks like the Raptors can count out any dreams of the post-season by losing four straight games heading into tonight’s matchup. Although they are not mathematically eliminated, things are looking pretty bleak. The Toronto Raptors head out West to face the exciting Golden State Warriors to continue their four game road trip which started off with a loss against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Raptors have dropped four straight and will need to pull out all the stops in order to get this one at the Oracle Arena.
1. Transition Defence
The Warriors aren’t overly deep but they have a few lights out shooters. It’s in transition where the Warriors outside shooting become a dangerous threat for the Raptors. Containing Klay Thompson and Jarret Jack will be essential for the Raptors to keep this one under control.
2. Like Father, Like Son
Stephen Curry, son of former Raptor Dell Curry is a flat out monster. The man dropped 54 points by throwing up shots with his eyes closed, putting his team on his back in a losing effort just the other day. He’s cooled down since that effort but nonetheless he is the leader of this Warriors team and will be looking to get his. The Raptors need to STOP THIS MAN!
3. Get Physical
The Raptors are a team that is fun to watch in a running, up-tempo game. Fun is good, but a win on the road is better. The Raptors need to get into the teeth of the Warriors playing them with some grit and ruggedness. The Raptors are by far the larger team and have the ability to bang with a Warriors team that is not deep in the front court.
4. Screen, Screen, Screen
By setting constant screens tonight, the Raptors will create mismatches on offence. Running pick and rolls with DeMar DeRozan and Alan Anderson tonight will give the Raptors the size advantage taking the smaller, thinner guards into the post for high percentage looks.
5. Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link
The Raptors have lacked consistent bench production since the acquisition of Rudy. It’s questionable whether Rudy Gay will play tonight as he was out last game with back spasms. The Raptors are going to need to come out confident, and when players like Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas aren’t given the chance to maintain their confidence it truly hinders the development of our core.
X-Factor: Terrence Ross
Tonight’s X-Factor is Raptors rookie Terrence Ross. The young man has not had the opportunity to come out and showcase his skills since winning the 2013 Slam Dunk contest in Houston. Dwane Casey’s leash has been short as of late with Ross, however Ross also needs to understand that he has more capabilities than just shooting. Tonight he will probably be used to stick with Warriors sniper Klay Thompson. The Raptors missed out on Harrison Barnes in a coin-toss, this is Ross’ opportunity to let Raptors fans not create those “what-if” scenarios when it comes to this young talent.
Photo Cred: (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)