by Zack Cooper
The Raptors’ slide (7 losses in their last 8 games) is something we’ve all seen over the last couple of weeks. The holes have been apparent, and apparently Coach Sam Mitchell’s ready to try his hand at some patch-work.
The Raptors are going back to a starting line-up that they used in stretches of November and December. A devastating injury to TJ Ford brought Jose Calderon into the mix as the starting point guard, while Andrea Bargnani’s struggles led to his promotion to becoming the starting Center. A position the sophomore would hold… until tonight.
When the Raptors tip-off against the Pistons this evening, they’re expected to swap Jose for TJ, and Andrea for Rasho Nesterovic (who’s raked in double digit scoring in all but 3 games this month, while picking up 3 doubles-doubles in “starters minutes”).
The rest of the starting 5 remains the same:
The need for change has been apparent; And while it’s something I discussed with Paul Jones on “Late Night” last night, I wasn’t expecting it to actually happen.
What’s an interesting sidenote to all this, is that the idea for the point guard swap, came from the guy going who’s back to the bench – Jose – who continues his selfless, team-first acts.
Jose understands that Ford has been struggling off the bench (since his return from neck and back injuries, costing him nearly 2 months), and piped up to Mitchell that maybe the way to get him (and the team) going again, would be for TJ to get the start.
As for Rasho… we all knew that was coming. His play has been stellar over the last month, and Andrea’s still showing that’s he consistently inconsistent.
Tonight, they’ll be going up against a Pistons team that just the other night clinched their 7th straight 50-win season. They’re 0-2 vs. Detriot so far this season, but Coach Flip Saunders seemed to indicate that Rip Hamilton will not be suiting up for them.
He dropped 22 and 39 points on the Raps in the last 2 meetings.
…If the playoffs started today, the Raptors (7th place, .5 games behind Philly, 1 behind Washington for 5th) would take on the Pistons… not something they want.
…and also, just a freaky stat: Detroit’s 31-1 when they score 100 or more points.
Eric and Paul have the call…
Tip-off at 7:00 on the Fan 590.