Toronto Raptors (3-7, 4-6 ATS) vs Philadelphia 76ers (6-4, 6-4 ATS) @ Wells Fargo Centre, 7.05 PM
Line: PHI by 5.5
Total: 182

While Toronto was going bat-shit this week over their baseball trade, adding a potential franchise strapping amount of cash in the process, its hard to forget the same sports fans were willing to set the ACC on fire when DeMar DeRozan signed his extension. When DeRozan, 23, signed his four years, 40 million dollar extension, you’d have thought the Raps re-signed Vince Carter (2012 version), Hedo Turkoglu and Joey Graham in one, not a twenty three year old with unlimited potential and a proven ability to score 15 ppg in the league with relative ease. Most fans just pretended like they watched the preseason, figured he’s the same player, didn’t see the obvious improvements in his ball handling, mid-range game, and general fearlessness to the basket, they shit all over the deal with the same vigor they praise their precious Anthopolous. DeRozan’s college teammate and Chicago Bulls forward, signed basically identical deals, the difference being Gibson is already 28 years old and will be close to 33 in the final year of his extension. While Derozen is going to be 28 years old entering the prime of his career when his contract ends. What’s been even more impressive about DeMar’s game this year, in an offense that isn’t even geared around him, it’s tailored around Andrea Bargnani.

That same Bargnani that makes 10 plus million a year, has five inches and 40 pounds on DeRozan and some how still averages less than a rebound per game less than the former Trojan. Bargnani, the focal point of the offense, has been shooting a disastrous 35% on Field Goals and 16.2 ppg (his lowest since the ’08-’09) compared with DeRozan’s 45 FG% and team leading 19.0 ppg. This is also while Kyle Lowery has been out of the line up, so using the excuse “he’s learning to play with new players” does not apply here for Andrea.  Calderon is playing as well as anyone not names Paul, Williams, Irving, or Lillard. Which makes me wonder, would it have been better to ride out Brandon Roy with that first pick, have him play like he did for those few seasons (bring hype and excitement and playoff ball to Toronto) then have to rebuild or toil with this Italian enigma in Bargnani.

For the Raps, a game like tonight’s is when you’ll see the standard stout DeWayne Casey defense but scoring at a Big Ten type pace. When fully healthy, the Raps and Sixers are quiet evenly matched teams. Both squads have plenty of length in the front court and tough-minded back court players. Hard not to think, Philly born Kyle Lowery, would have gone off on the 76ers in front of all his friends and family (something like 20 pts, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds). Philly’s is going to rely heavily on sixth man Nick Young tonight. Young has been a constant pain for the Raps since entering the league. In 17 games versus Toronto, Young averages 12.5 ppg on 45% on field goals in just 24 minutes. Look for him to get a lot of shots against the depleted second unit of the Raptors.