A talented, albeit unlikeable troupe of men travel to Toronto for a performance. Easily recognizable due to their overt proclivity to ‘sporting’ goatees. The leader of the goatee clad performers is not available for the performance in Toronto. The most insecure of this group – the type who would put his ‘CashApp’ link under a tweet. No I’m not giving you money because you tweeted something that went viral – has had a great deal of trouble weathering the storm as of late.
While the Warriors have struggled as of late, they seem to be rounding into form. Winners of their last three, but more importantly, looking forward to the return of an MVP candidate in Stephen Curry. Even though Curry isn’t available for the game, the Warriors are fighting hard to reach the day he comes back. Mired in mediocrity at 5-5 in their last 10, but still flexing one of the league’s top 5 players, Kevin Durant.
The Raptors – a likeable troupe, naturally – have won *checks standings* six games in a row. The three game losing streak seems like years ago, but certainly wasn’t too long in the past. Kawhi Leonard inches closer to gaining his full health, and has a new shoe deal with New Balance.
There’s two scenarios that are possible concerning Leonard and New Balance. New Balance threw a bunch of money at his face, and he took it. Or, Leonard approached the company, lauding their “comfy” and “practical” shoes. Both are hilarious, and if anyone wants to write out a couple hypotheticals in the comments, I’ll love you.
Leonard also displayed a wonderful all-around game against the Grizzlies two nights ago, displaying terrific decision making and gumption. A terrific development for the Raptors and Leonard’s game, and one that has to continue. If so, some hack writer on this website will have to eat his words critiquing Leonard’s game.
With Lowry and Leonard both performing objectively well, and the Raptors returning to health, things look good. With a deeper bench, we saw what might have been the best coached game of the year from Nick Nurse. Perhaps he’ll be just as good as we anticipated, but has been handcuffed with injuries lately. The Mike Conley-Marc Gasol pairing has been really good for a long time, and Nurse & Co. did a terrific job solving them from the middle of the third quarter on.
A good game from Danny Green would be terrific for the Raptors tonight. If he’s capable chasing Klay Thompson around screens, the Warriors will at-least be somewhat stymied. I’m not particularly worried about Kevin Durant, as the Raptors employ the trio of Pascal Siakam-Leonard-OG Anunoby. It’s going to take a herculean effort from Durant to break down those three all night long, and even more than that to do it often enough to win.
With Curry, Draymond Green, and Raptors 905 alumni Alfonzo McKinnie out for tonight’s game, the Warriors are slim on offensive options. The Raptors for the first time in many years, are adequately equipped to look a wing dominant team in the eye.
Outside of the aforementioned matchups, we might be looking at a great game from the guard duo of Delon Wright and Fred VanVleet. The Raptors bench should be able to outpace the Warriors reserves with relative ease, and could be a huge advantage tonight. I’m not sure what we’ll get offensively from Anunoby tonight, but let’s hope he turns things around after a so-so game against the Grizzlies.
Lastly, look for a very explosive but short stint from Jonas Valanciunas tonight. I have a feeling he’ll have double-double with 15+ points. Then we can all hop into the comments and not argue about Valanciunas and Ibaka.
The Raptors and Warriors are almost identical in ORTG/Pace/REB%. Two teams that are driven by terrific point guards, that defer to elite wing players. Interesting stuff.
TV: TSN | Radio: TSN1050
Tipoff: 8PM EST
Greg Monroe (back) is probable for tonight’s game and Norman Powell (shoulder) is still sidelined.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Lorenzo Brown, Jordan Loyd
SG: Danny Green, Fred VanVleet, Malachi Richardson
SF: Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby, CJ Miles
PF: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
C: Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, Greg Monroe, Chris Boucher
Steph Curry (groin) is out for tonight’s game, as is Draymond Green (toe) and Alfonzo McKinnie (foot). DeMarcus Cousins (achilles) of course, out as well.
PG: Quinn Cook, Shaun Livingston
SG: Klay Thompson, Patrick McCaw, Jacob Evans
SF: Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala
PF: Jonas Jerebko, Kevon Looney, Marcus Derrickson
C: Damian Jones, Jordan Bell
The over/under is 224.5 and the Raptors are 8-point favourites.
Have a blessed day.