Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet

Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dominic McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas (I’m just assuming that with a game under his belt, Lowry takes back his rightful place as a starter over the defensively inept Jose Calderon)
Charlotte: Kemba Walker, Jeffery Taylor, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens, Brendan Haywood

Injury report
Toronto: Landry Fields and Alan Anderson remain out
Charlotte: Ben Gordon is questionable, while Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas are out long term

Random Thoughts

  • The Bobcats are a surprising 5-4, but if you’ve actually watched them play this season, you’ll know that they’re not that much better than their historically bad team from last season. They’ve beaten the Pacers, Mavericks, winless Wizards and overachieving Bucks in Charlotte, while beating the Timberwolves in Minnesota on a nasty crossover and game winning shot from Kemba Walker. I have a feeling this Bobcats team will be much like the 2010-11 Cavaliers team, which started 5-5 and played well enough to open the season before finishing 19-63.
  • Kemba Walker is off to a great start in his sophomore season, averaging 18.8 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals in over 36 minutes per game. If Lowry still isn’t ready to log big minutes and Calderon ends up guarding Walker for the majority of the night, I could see the Bobcats adding to Toronto’s embarrassment.
  • I’m also a big fan of No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who continues to expend every ounce of energy while he’s on the floor, just as he did as a star on Kentucky’s national championship team. While I continue to make fun of the Bobcats (how can you not?), I actually think they have a couple of long term pieces in Walker and MKG.
  • I’m curious to see whether the loss in Philly was some sort of last straw for Dwane Casey in terms of shying away from Valanciunas in crunch time, but I highly doubt it. No matter how well JV is playing, he’ll likely always lose fourth quarter minutes to Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson this season, even when they don’t deserve those minutes ahead of him. Personally, I’d like to see what Amir and Jonas could do together for a stretch.
  • I’m still steaming over last night’s meltdown in Philadelphia, and a win against Charlotte won’t change that, but it is a necessary result if this Raptors team wants to go anywhere this season. A win might not cure our frustration, but a loss to the Bobcats might send us all spiraling into a sports-induced depression. I’m predicting a Raptors win tonight, but I am in no way ready to call it a sure thing, as the Raptors are very capable of more disappointment.
  • Ramon Sessions apparently forgot that he plays for the Bobcats, and that no team in the NBA, no matter how bad, is a game the Bobcats “should” win

Comments (12)

  1. The Bobcats aren’t going to make this an easy game tonight. Jose really has no chance trying to guard the Walker/Sessions duo at PG, and you know that MKG is likely taking DeRozan defensively.

    I think that tonight’s game could be another one that goes right down until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

    I just hope that if it does, Casey doesn’t make the same coaching mistakes two nights in a row.

  2. Sessions probably still thinks he’s in LA. Poor thing.

  3. I have a bad feeling about this game – the Bobcats’ confidence is soaring right now.

    that is all…

    • Who do you think wants our overpriced El Pasta (apparently not El Mago)? Which team would go crazy for this trade?

  5. “Ramon Sessions apparently forgot that he plays for the Bobcats, and that no team in the NBA, no matter how bad, is a game the Bobcats “should” win.”

    I know very few Raptor fans are able to distance themselves far enough from their rooting interests in order to see how we’re really perceived by other teams and fans but the Magic, Pistons, Bobcats, Wizards, Kings, Cavaliers, etc. see us EXACTLY how we see them.

    • I never said the Raptors should be viewed any differently than the other teams you listed, but the Bobcats are in a lower tier all on their own, and I don’t think a 5-4 start to a season should make them think any differently.

  6. Rookies are not getting 4th quarter minutes ahead of vets just to “see what they can do.” Basketball does not work that way. Playing youth ahead of a vet in crunch time is a hugely significant statement saying one of two things:
    1) The youth has “arrived” and is ready for professional prime-time, or
    2) The vet is washed-up and it’s time for him to become a bench guy from now on.

    The Raps are not at that place with Bargs vs JV (no matter what impatient fans think after a handful of games). I think they’ll trade Bargs sooner than demote him to the bench in favour of a raw rookie.

    It’s a terrible thing to yank your vets around – bad for chemistry, bad for all the player’s confidence in the coach/management. You gotta let guys play through rough stretches.

    (None of this is an endorsement of AB, whom I would love to see traded.)

  7. Also, Raptors are 1-6 in their last 7 meetings against the Bobcats including two losses last year to them when they were the worst team ever. If you’re going to spend a whole post ripping them without any self awareness as a Raptors fan, at least point that out.

  8. Cue sports induced depression.

  9. Fuck rhe refs and the nba

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