Toronto Raptors: The Rap Up

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Looking Ahead

Jan 1, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) drives the ball past Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the fourth quarter of a game at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto won the game 95-82. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

 Jan 6 – Jan 12

Games: 3  Predicted Record: 2-1

Jan 7 @ Indiana Pacers

Jan 8 vs Detroit Pistons

Jan 11 vs Brooklyn Nets

(Home Games Bolded)

Look for the Pacers to take a game back from the Raptors on their home court. Wins against the Pistons and Nets at home should follow.

It’s another week and the Pacers will be looking to avenge last week’s loss and the main man in the middle of this is Jonas Valanciunas.

After shutting down Joakim Noah to a quiet 7 points (he did have 16 rebounds though) and battling with Roy Hibbert, which led to Hibbert fouling out, the Toronto Raptors big man has Hibbert to look forward to yet again.

Both Valanciunas and Amir Johnson will need to perform well in all three games if the Raptors want to exit the week still at .500 or better. Johnson in particular will need to keep attacking the rim, as his quickness is unmatched in the front court of most NBA teams.

The Pistons represent a big test, as their front line is manned by Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe. Throw in Josh Smith and you have three players capable of putting up a double-double in any game.

Kyle Lowry will look to continue his heady point guard play, and show that he is on the path to being on equal footing with the best lead guards in the league. His match-up with the oft injured Deron Williams of the Nets will be a key indicator if he has taken a step in the right direction.

The way the Raptors have been playing I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sweep the week, but I am cautious about anointing the Toronto Raptors too highly, lest the Pacers smack them down and bring them back down to earth.