Toronto Raptors Going for Back-to-Back Wins This Week

Stephen Brotherston@@ProBballNBAAnalyst INovember 24, 2009

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 6:  Mascot Rufus of the Charlotte Bobcats on the court before the game against the Atlanta Hawks on November 6, 2009 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Bobcats won 103-83.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

This week the Toronto Raptors will have their first real chance at back-to-back wins in this young NBA season.

Tuesday night the Raptors face the 5-7 Indiana Pacers at the ACC.  Then on Wednesday its off to the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC to face the 5-9 Bobcats.

To open the season, sporting betting blogs were projecting the Bobcats and the Pacers to finish 11th and 12th respectively.  Toronto was in a three-way tie for fifth.  These are must wins for Toronto.

On Sunday, the Bobcats snapped a seven game losing skid by beating the Pacers 104-88.  Stephen Jackson getting 10 points, seven boards, and four assists for the Bobcats in his first home game since the trade.  The Toronto Raptors are the next opponent for both clubs.

Tuesday Night vs. Indiana

The Indiana Pacers have been bitten by injuries early this season.

Troy Murphy was sidelined with back issues and has returned to both start and come off the bench for restricted minutes in five games.  He did not start in the Pacers loss to the Bobcats on Sunday.

Jeff Foster has only played in three games this season and returned from injury on Sunday to play for nine minutes in the loss.

Even rookie Tyler Hansbrough went down with a preseason shin injury and has only played in seven games.

The result of these injury woes has been a small starting line-up consisting of:

Point Guard: TJ Ford with 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists.

Shooting Guard: Dahntay Jones with 17.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists.

Shooting Guard: Brandon Rush with 8.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists.

Small Forward: Danny Granger with 24.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists.

Center: Roy Hibbert with 11.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists.

Troy Murphy, when he is available and able, has averaged nine points, and 9.4 rebounds, and has started three games.  But against the Bobcats on Sunday, Murphy was limited to 21 minutes, seven points, and eight boards.

When your team’s second highest scorer is a defensive specialist and you are shooting 44 percent from the field and 30 percent from three, you are going to be looked upon as a get-able game by nearly every team in the NBA.  Budding superstar Danny Granger not withstanding.

The Raptors should be able to take advantage of their size and shooting prowess to easily take care of the visiting Pacers.

As was noted by one of Pacers fans, when you give up a 19 point lead and lose by seven to the Knicks, well?

Wednesday Night in Charlotte

This season Charlotte could claim, “we’re not very good and we can’t score either.”  Fighting it out with the injury riddled Nets for the honor of being the lowest scoring team in the NBA, the Bobcats have averaged 85.3 points per game.

Charlotte's shooting isn't much better than the Nets.  They're hitting on just 42 percent of their shots.  Rounding out their shooting woes, the Bobcats manage to be the third worse team from three, hitting on only 27 percent of shots from long distance.

But the Bobcats have done something about their inability to score.  Four games ago they traded for their new leading scorer, Stephen Jackson.  Jackson has averaged over 17 points per game since joining the Bobcats and was an important addition in ending the team’s seven game losing streak.

The acquisition of Tyson Chandler in the off-season has not worked out as planned.  Chandler is only averaging 6.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in eleven starts this season and missed Sunday’s game due to injury.  The biggest knock on his game being the seven fouls per 48 minutes played that he is averaging.

Chandler is day-to-day and may play Wednesday.  However, Nazr Mohammed has averaged the same points in half of Chandler’s minutes.

Against the Pacers, Nazr Mohammed was the Bobcats leading scorer with 18 points and five rebounds.

The Bobcats likely starting line-up on Wednesday is:

Point Guard: Raymond Felton with 10.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists.

Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson with 17.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists.

Forward: Boris Diaw with 13.3 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists.

Forward: Gerald Wallace with 13.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists.

Center: Tyson Chandler with 6.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.4 assists.

The Bobcats are 3-7 over their past 10 games and 1-3 since Stephen Jackson joined the team.

This is another get-able game, even on a back-to-back.

The Raptors must take advantage of the undersized, poor shooting Bobcats for their first set of back-to-back wins of the season.

The back-to-back against the Pacers and Bobcats represent a pair of no excuses games for any team with real playoff aspirations.


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