Game 69 Preview: Raptors vs. Blazers

Game Time:  6:00 p.m. Pacific  TV:  Comcast and NBA TV

The Toronto Raptors make their annual visit to Portland tonight.  We played them a couple weeks ago so I'm going to refer you to the more detailed preview here and simply go over what's new and different.

1.  The Raptors have been getting knocked silly since we last saw them, losing 7 of 8.  Coincidentally (or not) their only victory came in the only game in which they held their opponent under 100 points, a 102-96 jaunt over the New York Knicks.  Other than that the 109 points they allowed to the L*kers last Tuesday marked the fewest points they've given up.  The upper end ranges into the 124 territory versus Golden State and 126 in an overtime game against the Cavaliers.  There have been a couple of close games but for the most part the Raptors have been getting handled.

2.  Hedo Turkoglu returns to Portland tonight after his brief dalliance with the Blazers' brain-trust this summer.  He's had ankle issues and has been performing poorly.  I assume it wouldn't break Blazer fans' hearts to see him continue that trend.

3.  The Blazers tend to do well against teams that don't defend well.  Portland is also on a little run.  Those are positive signs for tonight.

4.  BUT...this is also a weird situation in that the Blazers get the week off after this game...at least until Friday when they face the Wizards.  Obviously they'll be practicing but in terms of competition this is almost like a second All-Star break.  Weird things happen before and after long breaks like this.  Even a moderate amount of energy and focus should suffice to take this game at home but if the Blazers come out spastic Toronto has the guns to score their way to a victory.

You can read the thoughts of Raptors folks over at RaptorsHQ.

You can enter tonight's Jersey Contest form over here.

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)

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