This Friday edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, one of the hotter teams in the NBA right now, the Toronto Raptors.
We’re still pretty frustrated and angry over the ridiculous loss to the Wizards on Tuesday night, so previewing the Toronto Raptors who have won 7 of their last 8 and just beat the Spurs and Magic back-to-back may just put us on suicide watch. You see, much like the 76ers, the Raptors struggled through the first month of the season (7-13), but unlike Philadunkia’s home team the Raptors figured things out in early December and have been playing well (11-5) since that time. It’s just a thought, but someone from the Sixers may want to pick the brains of Jay Triano and Bryan Colangelo and learn how we can turn around this season in Philadelphia.
If we’re honest, we unfortunately have to admit that the Sixers have little chance to win this game tonight. Forget for a second that the Raptors are on a hot streak right now and playing some of their best ball of the year. If you break this game down by personnel, Toronto presents some serious match-up problems for the Sixers. With Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani they have bigs that are tough to handle. Our old nemesis Hedo Turkoglu will be raining threes. Jose Calderon and Jarrett Jack are a nice 1-2 punch at the point that will rip up Louis and Iverson’s half-hearted attempts at defense. Additionally, rookie DeMar DeRozen is a sick athlete who can get up and down the floor with Calderon or Jack to finish on the break. Last but not least, the Raptors bench is solid and when they’re on, they can be almost dangerous. All of that firepower has the Raptors ranked 8th in the NBA in scoring average at 103.1 ppg. That list of assets does not bode well for a Sixers team that can’t defend a lick, especially on the perimeter.
However, there is some hope for the Sixers. This is a classic NBA “trap game” for Toronto and the Sixers will have to take advantage of that fact if they hope to have any chance of winning tonight. In theory, the Raptors should be primed for a let down as they are coming off big Ws vs. San Antonio and then at Orlando on Wednesday night. Lying ahead on Sunday for Toronto is a huge barometer game against Boston at the Air Canada Centre. Thus the Raptors may be a little over confident and also overlooking the Sixers, figuring they can coast in this one and still pickup a victory. For the Sixers to capitalize on the “trap game” theory they’ll have to jump on the Raptors from the opening tip by playing something that resembles defense and cause some turnovers. They’ll also need to push the rock hard after every Toronto miss and make. If they can get Toronto down early, then hopefully Bosh & Co. will raise the white flag and start looking to rest up for Sunday’s big contest with the Celtics.
Of course based on the Sixers ability to hold onto leads, they will need to put Tornto in a 30-point hole in the first half for the “trap game” theory to work for Eddie Jordan’s team.
For a little more insight into the Raptors team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Zarar “Arsenalist” Siddiqi from raptorsrepublic.com to answer two questions on the Raptors from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of insider analysis on this Toronto squad.