It’s becoming increasingly difficult to write the correct words to describe this team. The Toronto Raptors are a team you absolutely love one night, and then nights’ like last make you want to vomit. There are a few reasons for this inconsistency, however we can save that for another article. For now, let’s focus on what should be a tough match-up, as the Raps square up against the Dallas Mavericks.
A starting line-up of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler is scary good. I mean, it’s balanced, lethal, and complete. To cap it, they have some solid pieces off the bench, including an Amare Stoudemire that has seemed to have found another gear.
To say that it’s going to require the ‘good’ Raptors is an understatement. Patrick Patterson will be questionable again. Let’s get to the Cage’s Keys to the Game.
Move the ball
I cannot emphasize this enough. You need to tire out this Mavs team defensively. No iso Lou tonight, no hero ball from Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan. We need to see smart team basketball and high quality looks.
Leave it all for the fourth
I know the saying goes ‘leave it all on the floor’, however a revised version for the Raptors is likely more relevant. #WeTheFourth is no longer a thing, so if you simply can’t play for four quarters anymore, save something for the 4th because that’s what good teams do. They take it up another gear in crunch time. It would be nice to see the Raps do that against a team that isn’t a bottom feeder.
The Mavericks have a full arsenal of weapons to use, so the Raptors will need to be on their toes. Everyone needs to be accountable for their man, and guys simply cannot be lazy in this one. The amount of open shots Luke Babbitt had was just unbelievable. I mean come on, Luke freaking Babbitt.
X-Factor: DeMar DeRozan
Come on D, snap out of it.
DeRozan’s shooting woes have not been fun to watch. We will need to see the real DeMar DeRozan to stand up tonight, as the Raptors are missing his shot creating, attacking, and slashing. He will be the primary weapon in terms of putting pressure on the Mavs tonight.