The Toronto Raptors are going big for their home opener tonight and I mean literally. Walk up to the Air Canada Centre and you see a 9 foot ice sculpture that is all part of the block party set up outside for fans to enjoy before the game. Aside from the free food and drinks, fans attending the game will be getting free towels and t-shirts. The only mystery left is what the intro song will be.
The Raptors opened up their season with a win against the Cavs but are faced with a much bigger test tonight against the Pacers. Coach Casey has elected to stay with the same starting lineup from opening night (Calderon, DeRozan, Butler, Bargnani and A. Johnson). Butler remains a surprise in the starting lineup but coach stressed that he has become a quiet leader in the locker room and provides some good fundamentals on D creating space for Andrea and Demar on the floor. Expect to see him remain there but James Johnson should still get the bulk of minutes at the SF spot. The Raptors did not record a single fast break point in game 1, but Casey insists that getting out and running is still very much part of the game plan. Pregame when asked what he hopes his team brings to the floor tonight, coach said “We owe it to our fans to come out and scrap.”
The Pacers have dropped 5 straight in Toronto but the team that comes in today is much more experienced, athletic, and have been doing some great things under coach Vogel. The Raptors are going to have to hit the boards as a team, continue to talk on D and focus on making sure that every basket the Pacers get is earned. The Pacers have a size advantage at every spot aside from PG, but Collison can give Calderon fits all night. Amir is going to have to battle down low with Hibbert while Andrea needs to make David West work on both ends. The matchup to look out for is DeMar going at Paul George. Two athletic freaks who have so much potential. Get your camera’s ready!
I am coming at you from the game tonight on Twitter () so give me a follow for all the in-game tweets and pics you can handle.