Despite a busy August, the summer is coming to a close, and the playoffs are right around the corner. Tonight the Toronto Raptors are looking for their third win of the year, and we’re back at the Georgia Dome for another contest with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Last time they played in ATL, the Raptors posted a 131-129 win in overtime. For most of the game it looked like the game would head that way as a close game between two good teams. Then Rudy Gay hit a triple from deep and the Grizzlies responded with two straight threes to bring the game back to another one. The Raptors got the basket, got the lead, and eventually won in overtime.
Tonight’s game is bigger because it is the first post-All-Star break game of the year. It’s also important for the team to look back on the All-Star Break and see how the team was able to extend their streak of having a full roster of players at their best to three seasons in a row. Going out of the break with the roster this full should be no problem, and will give the team as a whole the chance to see that they can thrive with a full roster. After the experience of the offseason, the team should be better, better than the one they were before the All-Star Break. That experience and confidence can only help the Raptors as they look to recover from last season.
Memphis’ problem is their inconsistency. They can play well one game, play well the next, look outstanding in a game, but then look mediocre the next. Though they have solid playmakers, they haven’t shown that they can be an all-around team. It was the starters that lost the game last time, and the same things happened tonight as the bench couldn’t score and Toronto won, again. Because the Grizzlies are inconsistent they can’t sustain a long streak, and then they look like a team that can’t play consistently either. It’s hard to have a great streak when you can’t sustain a good streak. This game will go a long way in deciding if they make the playoffs, but they need to be able to do that with consistency.
Now that the summer is over, it’s time to face the real stuff.
Player of the Game
C.J. Miles’ record-breaking season at power forward has pushed him onto the perimeter to facilitate this year, and it looks like Miles will stay on the outside shooting wings as the Raptors draft their next point guard. Miles looks like a big upgrade over all those power forwards who can’t move. He’s also better defensively, which helps too, and as he has tried to play, has only rebounded less than in previous years and seems to be moving better. He’s the real star, and he looks like he is finally going to fit well in his new role.
The Performance You Missed
Reserve forward Kyle Lowry, who did not play last night, scored 25 points in his second game as the point guard. It was exciting to see him play out of his comfort zone, and his play (25/4/4 from three) was inspiring to the fans. He’s looking more and more comfortable at the point, and tonight gave the Raptors another good look at him at the position.
Can’t Miss Video
It’s tough to miss the Harrison Barnes sighting. Though his game is good enough to play in the league now, he hasn’t played very well in his first two games, averaging 10.3/4/2 and he’s being forced to play the wing and it’s not exactly an ideal position for his game. His eight points and seven rebounds on just 4/11 shooting is awful, and this will only get worse as the season goes on. He shot just 1/4 from three, and he must improve quickly or he’ll be out of the league very quickly.