Saturday , Jan , 13 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Raptors prepare for upcoming test

(Sports Network) – The Toronto Raptors better keep quiet for now despite being
at the top of the Atlantic Division.

The reason?

Because the Atlantic is the worst division in the NBA and the Raptors lead it
with a losing record. There is no other division in the league that has a
leader with a percentage below .500.

Toronto (17-20) and New Jersey (16-19) both lead the division, while New York
(16-22), Boston (12-23) and Philadelphia (10-26) round out the rest of
the disgraceful Atlantic standings. The 76ers have a terrible record this
season and are just 6 1/2 games off the lead.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Raptors now. After competing with mediocrity
in Memphis, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Boston, the Raptors will face a tough
challenge Sunday afternoon against the mighty Dallas Mavericks. Dallas is 16-1
in its last 17 games and has won three straight since having a 13-game win
streak come to an end last week.

Raptors forward Chris Bosh must step up in this situation in order to keep his
team afloat in the choppy Atlantic. Bosh is averaging team bests of 21.2
points and 11.5 rebounds in 25 starts this season and is second among Eastern
Conference forwards with 684,620 votes for the upcoming All-Star game.

Bosh missed 12 games last month due to a bruise in his knee. Since returning
to the hardwood, Bosh has two double-doubles and is averaging 23.3 points and
9.3 rebounds in six contests. Bosh has 17 double-doubles this season and is
currently second on Toronto’s all-time double-doubles list with 95.

Toronto will need Bosh to play at a top level against Dallas. The Raptors have
won two straight and four of their last five games. After hosting the Mavs
Toronto will visit Philadelphia before starting a five-game homestand versus
Sacramento, Utah, Charlotte, New Orleans/Oklahoma City and the Celtics.