Big Game Hunting, Dino-style

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Published: February 6, 2009

Matchup: Raptors(19-32) @ Hornets(28-18)

Off Efficiency: Raptors 104.5(15th), Hornets 106.8(9th)
Def Efficiency: Raptors 107.0(24th), Hornets 103.8(13th)

The Raptors and Hornets both have 4-game losing streaks going, and both are sporting injured star point guards.  The Raptors have gotten back their injured Center, Jermaine O’Neal, but no one is really certain if that’s a good thing or not, and have lost their starting Power Forward.  This game is eminently winnable, if the guys just play some defense.

Byron was furious with Hilton’s defense after last game, and has made it pretty clear he’s likely to go another direction this game.  Yay Marks or Ely.

I’m going to do an abbreviated positional analysis, and then post a question and answer exchange I did with Dino Nation.  Enjoy.

Injuries:

Raptors: Jose Calderon is Day to Day, Chris Bosh is Doubtful
Hornets: Paul is Day to Day, Chander Doubtful, Peterson Day to Day

Positional Analysis

PG: Anthony Parker v Antonio Daniels
Advantage: Even

SG: Joey Graham v Rasual Butler
Advantage: Hornets

SF: Jamario Moon v Peja Stojakovic
Advantage: Hornets

PF: Andrea Bargnani v David West
Advantage: Hornets

C: Jermaine O’Neal v Sean Marks
Advantage: Raptors

Bench
Advantage:
Even – Both teams have thin, inconsistent benches.


Like I said above, I exchanged questions with James at the Dino Nation Blog.  You can find my answers to his questions up over there.  Here’s his answers to my incisive and hard-hitting inquiries:

1. Anthony Parker was an underrated part of your team last year – but he seems to have taken several steps backward. Is he being used differently? Is he just starting to slide as he passes into his 30’s?
He is now the back-up point guard, or if Jose is out the starting point guard. He did play that role back in Europe, but it speaks to the mistake Colangelo made in not finding a legit back-up for Calderon. Parker has lost a step and has always been a guy that depends on the team’s success for his own. Candace Parker he is not –  meaning that he is not the focus and needs ball movement to score. When he has been at the point he has been able to increase his scoring some what.

2. Forget TJ Ford. If you could trade Jermaine O’Neal back to the Pacers for Rasho Nesterovich, would you? How about if New Jersey offered Vince Carter to Toronto for Jermaine O’Neal, would it even be considered? Should it be?
Rasho was highly under valued by fans here. If you forgot about contract numbers and all the rest, Rasho would not be as good an option numbers wise but has more durability. As for the second part of the question, as a blogger Vince Carter back with Toronto? Hell ya. The whole drama with all of that is gold. However the majority of the fan base still hates Vince although they claim to be over it. Public relations wise it may be too much to endure. Basketball wise it makes sense. Since Vince left we’ve needed a Vince Carter like wing player. Is Vince Carter, still Vince Carter like? Maybe he still has some of that. I wouldn’t mind it but I doubt many Rap fans share that opinion.

3. One of my favorite Raptors was Carlos Delfino. Has his defection to a European ball club impacted the team at all, or was I basing my fandom on too small a sample size?(only saw him in about 6-7 games his whole career)
It has if you think he could have out-played our other wing players. That being said Delfino himself was not consistent. You know how when people go away they grow in legend. Well with all the losing and problems Carlos Delfino has grown in ability with Raptor fans. Colangelo suggested Delfino could be an option next season as Raptors still hold his rights as a restricted free agent.

4. Raptor’s GM Bryan Colangelo: Savior or Serpent?
My answer is human. There was a time that he was thought of as the savior of the franchise. But Raptor fans and the media have grown the strength to challenge their savior. He has had some bad moves in his time with the Raptors. Andrea Bargnani and how he pans out will say a lot if Colangelo truly bottoms out. That and how he handles things with Bosh – be it keeping him or moving him if he is forced to. Those 2 things will define B.C.

5. Did you think the Sam Mitchell firing was warranted?
I was one of his biggest supporters. But after that Denver game. You just had a feeling that Sam had lost this team and when you have lost a team you just never get them back. But Sam is a good coach and you folks in New Orleans have a fine example of a coach that lost a team and lived to coach again in Byron Scott.

Enjoy the game.

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