It's not exactly time to push the big red button. Not just yet. Soon maybe. But not right now at least. Like Jarrett Jack always says - "It's best to stay even keel". Never get too high, nor too low. So with that said, let's look at what going good for the Raps, and what we can legitimately worry about.
First, the things that keep me up at night when it comes to our Raptors:
Since the team has come back from the All-Star break, they've been playing .500 ball with a record of 2-2.
Memphis L 102-109
New Jersey W 106-89
Washington W 109-104
Portland L 87-107
I'm going to ignore the New Jersey game, because any form of analysis that includes the Nets shouldn't be taken too seriously. So with that said, in our 3 most recent games, what I find most troubling is our defense. It feels like we've resorted back to our defensive ways from earlier on in the season. We're giving up 106 pts per game in each of our 3 losses. Obviously, the stats don't tell us everything, like the fact that the Memphis game went to Overtime, or that Bosh hasn't played in 3 of the 4 games. However, I can't even remember how many times I've heard Leo, Jack, and Matt Devlin talk about "Defense" during this recent stretch of games. With Bosh out, we lose a lot of our offensive firepower, and what's going to keep us afloat is steady defense. Gotta find it again!
The other negative: When's Bosh coming back?!?!
In these last few games, we've gotten a glimpse of what life would be like without Bosh. We had a scare in New Jersey, we almost lost to Washington, and we got our butts handed to us by Portland. To keep things short and sweet: Please hurry back, and please don't leave!
Now onto the greener grass!
Why exactly did I put up a picture of Hedo in his Magic jersey? Because that's the Hedo we've been seeing in the last two games now. Someone needs to look into the possibility that he may have an evil twin, before banning him from the Raptors locker room. This is the Turkoglu we've all been waiting for. One that's aggressive, willing to make the big play, and full of leadership. He doesn't exactly have that "Magic Swag" yet. But come playoff time, I fully expect him to start popping his Raptors jersey.
Secondly, how big has Jarrett Jack been? If there's one thing I've enjoyed while Bosh has been sidelined, it's the emergence of his fellow Yellow Jacket. Sure, he's had his big moments here and there, but lately, Jack has taken it to another level. It reminds me a lot of when TJ Ford took over when Bosh went down to injury in our Atlantic winning season. The guy has been smooth out there on the court. And speaking of smooth, I'm pretty sure I saw you downtown Toronto. I didn't bother you or anything, but you were wearing a hat that convinced me you could be Ne-Yo for Halloween. It's perfect considering that win against the Wizards was all "Because of You".
With all that said, it's time for another date with the Cleveland LeBrons. There's no Shaq, but there's also no Bosh. To me, that means no pressure! If Cleveland wins, we can genuinely point to the fact that we don't have our MVP. However if we win, it would be MAJOR IMPRESSIVE considering Cleveland was able to dismantle a Pierce-less Celtics team the night before.
It isn't the end of the world if we lose, but it sure would be nice if we could walk out of this with the win (especially with OKC and Houston on the horizon). Remember to catch the game tonight on TSN2 at 7:00 pm est.
P.S. Go Canada Go!