Toronto Raptors (13-27, 5-15 away) vs. New Orleans Hornets (25-16, 15-5 home) @ New Orleans Arena on Sportsnet One, 3:00 PM ET
Line: NO by 8.5
Reason to Watch: The Raptors are trying to avoid a four game losing streak by keeping the Hornets from reaching a five game winning streak of their own. Toronto has had no trouble filling up the basket in the last five games averaging over 102.2 points. The problem is the Raps have allowed opponents to score 107.4 and being out rebounded 51.8 to 44.0 during that same time.
This will be a very tough task for the Raps, without a banger like Reggie Evans. Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson will get worn down by the tougher and stronger Emeka Okafor and David West.
The one thing I know about sports, is defense, is 90% effort. Nobody wants to play defense. Everyone knows the glory is all in scoring. While grabbing rebounds and shutting players down may earn you respect around the league or you’ll make an all star game or two, or if you are really talented get you a TV deal ( like a Bruce Bowen). Scoring is what puts you on the cover of magazines or gets you a shoe deal. Having said that, it seems like it’s time to change the head coach. Triano has been adequate. While his reputation certainly has overshadowed actual production, the Raps need a coach that’s going to lite a fire on the defense side of the ball.
Currently the Milwaukee Bucks have about as much talent on the roster as the Raps but the Bucks have a commitment to defense unlike any other in the NBA. Under Scott Skiles, you don’t play unless you are committed to playing on the defense end. A guy like Luc Richard Mbah a Moute can barely shoot a basketball, but he grabs rebounds, hustles and can finish pretty well two feet from the basket.