Three-Man Weave: Breaking down the Raptors and more

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TSN.ca Staff
4/25/2014 1:06:24 PM
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Each week, The Three-Man Weave will fill the lanes and Weave To Achieve on the News, Views and Truths of the NBA and beyond.
The unit will be led by Will Strickland and Duane Watson, hosts of TSN 1050's basketball radio show, 1 On 1 with Will & Duane.

This week, international comedian and basketball fan Frankie “Trixx” Agyemang joins #3MW as they discuss the NBA Playoffs, which have gotten off to a rousing start.

Adding to the excitement are the gritty Toronto Raptors, who are in the midst of a historic journey through the NBA's second season.

Should the Raptors take Terrence Ross out of the starting line-up and start Landry Fields?
Trixx: I do think they should take Terrence Ross out for a more defensive player. And although I think Landry Fields is as valuable as a broken bike reflector, his defence may be valuable... Considering what they're about to face in BK!
Watson: No. Despite Ross' lack of ability to slow down Paul Pierce, or get his shot going, you still stick to what got you there. If Ross' struggles stem from his inability to adjust to the post-season level of play, benching him is only going to affect the sophomore's psyche. Fields was exactly what the Raptors needed on the defensive end, but Coach Casey can regulate his minutes off the bench.
Strickland: Yes. Ross shouldn't look at this as a demotion, but rather a way to help him get back as a primary scoring option off the bench on track while helping the team better defend Joe Johnson. Jason Kidd sadistically attacked DeMar DeRozan with the seven-time All Star in Johnson during Game 2 in Toronto. The Raptors were able to overcome Iso-Joe with stellar defence in the most important scoreless 18 minutes of Landry Fields' life... and maybe even the Dinos' record breaking season.

Do the Raptors have enough to take two wins on the road in Brooklyn? 
Trixx: I feel the Raps can win at least one and they shouldn't get ahead of themselves! Just focus on Game 3, and the possible bullet holes members of M.O.P's crew may send into most of their dressing rooms! Masai might wanna consider staying in Long Island or perhaps New Jersey for this one... Juss sayin'!
Watson: Toronto took a much needed Game 2, but still have adjustments to make. For the intensity, noise and energy that Air Canada Centre showed, it's going to be interesting to see how the Raptors respond being showered with chants of "Brroooooookkkklllllllyyyyynnnnn" from the Barclays Center faithful. Coach Casey's group were road warriors this season, setting a franchise high with 22 road wins and should be able to take one of the two games.
Strickland: Absolutely. Toronto had 40 turnovers in the first two games of the series, so valuing each possession is paramount to success in the playoffs, especially against a veteran team like the Nets. If the young Raptors team can limit their affinity for offering fresh baked pastries to their older opponents, there is an ever greater chance of flipping Brooklyn into "Crooklyn" and steal a game or two games on the road.

Is Frank Vogel's job in jeopardy if the Pacers lose before the Eastern Conference Finals?
Trixx: If the Pacers lose and are eliminated in round one, I don't think they'll necessarily fire the coach, but I do think things will be shaken up! Lance (Stephenson) will probably be gone for his antics and Roy Hibbert thinks Paul George is selfish from those off-court issues. The line-up will definitely be shaken up!
Watson: Jeopardy? Yes, not entirely sure if he will get fired, the Pacers looked like they were playing out of Tankers Life Fieldhouse for the second half of the season and couldn't get it together in Game 1 against the Hawks. This team is in a free fall and is in danger of making it out of the first round, when the NBA Finals were the goal. Larry Bird is going to be forced to make some kind of change.
Strickland: In our Playoff Preview on #1On1, a wise hoops sage whose name rhymes with "Will Strickland" predicted that the Pacers were primed for an upset by the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks, who had destroyed Indy is the last game of the regular season. That said, Frank Vogel's squad has been punched in the mouth again by the Hawks, are now down 2-1 in the series after a rollercoaster season of dysfunction and infighting, and are being asked questions they may be unable to answer. Now, if Indy loses this series, much less doesn't advance to the NBA Finals, Vogel might as well place a listing to sell his home there.

Are the Washington Wizards for real?
Trixx: The Wizards are no joke and they may do more damage than expected in the playoffs... John Wall and the other guys or as I like to call them, "Destiny's Child feat John Wall," have no pressure. They're just loose and they're just playing, there are no expectations for them so they have nothing to prove. This makes them very dangerous! They've already overachieved by winning more than 10 games this season! 
Watson: They are about as real as the Raptors and Bobcats are, all three teams overachieved this season and finished above .500. However, the Wizards are facing a tough defensive team with veteran experience and finding ways to win. They're getting balanced production, with solid contributions from their bigs in Nene and Marcin Gortat, scoring and speed out of Bradley Beal and John Wall and three-point shooting out of the playoff savvy Trevor Ariza. If the Pacers fall, the Wiz can possibly end up in the Eastern Conference final.
Strickland: Along with having backcourt mates of the future in All-Star John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards also possess the calming effect of crafty veteran Andre Miller off the bench, NBA champion utility man Trevor Ariza, the surprising coaching job of perennial hot seat candidate Randy Wittman and a better-than-advertised defence. Under-recognized are their bigs up front in Nene and The Polish Hammer, Marcin Gortat. Washington's Twin Towers Of Power are a huge reason why nooooooooobody who wears a Bulls uniform beats the Wiz in Chicago yet and Washington has a chance to close the deal in D.C.

Which series so far has proven to be must watch TV in the NBA Playoffs so far?
Trixx: The most awesome series is hard to say. I know the series nobody cares about and will probably go straight to DVD is the Chicago/Washington series. Two words from Masai made the Raptors/Nets series personal and I must admit, as expected, the OKC/Memphis series has had some pretty good games! Hard to say, but I'm enjoying a lot of round one right now!
Watson: As soon as the series were set, it was little secret the Golden State Warriors vs. the Los Angeles Clippers was going to be electrifying and it hasn't disappointed. The Warriors' ability to score and make big shots whenever needed makes them a team you can't count out; the Clippers are deep and talented with big game players as well. Stephen Curry and Blake Griffin are two of the most exciting players in the NBA and aside from the Game 2 Clippers blowout, the other two games have been decided by six points. Defence will not be the order of the day here.
Strickland: Rockets-Blazers, no question about it. LaMarcus Aldridge became a bonafide star in Portland's sweeping of the first 2 games in Houston, flame broiling anyone pretending to guard him to the tune of 44.5 ppg, 12.5 rebs and 2.5 blks. Despite James Harden's poor play thus far, the eyes of the many are trained on Dwight David Howard, who cried his way out of Orlando to the Lakers, came up woefully short of expectations in a drama-filled season in LA and left $30 million on the table to win a title in Houston. On paper, the Rockets are one of the most talented teams in The Association. But the games ain't played on paper and the Blazers looked as poised as their sophomore PG Damian Lillard is to launch the Rockets into an early summer vacation.

The Three-Man Weave contributors are co-hosts of TSN Radio 1050's
1-on-1 with Will and Duane, Will Strickland (@WallStrizzle1) and Duane Watson (@byDuaneWatson) and guest hoops fanatic and rising Canadian comedic superstar Trixx (@ComedianTrixx)

Joe Johnson Jonas Valanciunas (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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