The Raptors coming in… The Raps are off to a mediocre 8-7 start, 4-4 at home and 4-3 on the road. The are averaging 97.9 points per game while allowing 98.9 points against.
The MVP chant… Love it or hate it: As the Staples faithful shower Kobe with the oft used serenade, early season speculation has Chris Bosh as a dark-horse candidate to take the hardware away from Lebron James. Bosh is averaging almost 28 points and over 10 rebounds. His agility on offense has been giving other bigs fits. Look for the Lakers to swarm Bosh and make Jose Calderon and Anthony Parker shooters. But MVP candidates rarely come from teams that don’t win 50 games. Can the Raptors eclipse that mark?
Match-up of the night: Kobe vs. Anthony Parker: Parker has been a defensive stalwart for the Raptors and will draw the assignment. This is the one on one match-up, but the more important one will be the battle of the benches. This is where the separation of the two teams begins and ends, depth.
The Raptors in LA on a Sunday evening: Can’t help but think of this.
Derek Fisher’s shot: Even though the Lakers have a gaudy 13-1 record, one of the concerns has been some puzzling decisions on offense by Fish. Jeff Van Gundy commented on it a couple of times in the ESPN broadcast. His take was that Fisher was taking too many contested shots. I would agree there, but he also seems to have lost any sort of conscience. It’s good for him to be aggressive on offense, but I’d like to see some better decisions. Through 14 games his TS% is .487 and eFG% is .454. Both numbers down nearly 5+ points from last year.
14 feet of front court… Another nice test for young Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol facing a versatile front court. Jermaine O’Neal is coming off a two game absence (I know shocking) with a sprained ankle. Bynum should be able to use his quickness against O’Neal who is a saavy defender but seems to be slowing down after a lot of NBA mileage.
For the Raptors to make it interesting… Jose Calderon will need to break down the Laker defense, and they were susceptible to that against Dallas, and Andrea Bargnani will have to be hitting from deep to stretch the Laker defense.
D-League update from Marc Stein: “Coby Karl going back to his Boise State roots with the Idaho Stampede after being released by the Lakers in October. How another Lakers castoff, Smush Parker, adjusts to life in Hidalgo, Texas, with the Rio Grande Vipers after lasting until the 12th pick of a 16-pick first round in the D-League draft.”
Where and when to watch: 6:30 on FSPT