On Superbowl Sunday, the Raptors will have a visit from the Los Angeles Clippers and Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will play his first NBA game in his home country.
In the first meeting of the two teams this season the Raptors delivered a 123-99 victory, led by a 25-point outing for Serge Ibaka and 21 from Kyle Lowry, as the Raptors led nearly start to finish in one of their most impressive victories of the season. The Clippers were led by 18 from Boban Marjanovic, as Toronto was able to limit the offence from their starters, even with Kawhi Leonard sitting out that game with the Raptors playing again the following night against the Golden State Warriors.
This time around, the Raptors come in losers of 3 of their last 4 games after a tough game against the Milwaukee Bucks when they looked lethargic throughout, and with the team mostly healthy at this point in the season, Toronto is struggling to re-establish their team identity, and they need to build some momentum headed towards the All-Star break. Kyle Lowry, in particular, has been struggling with his shot of late, dealing with a lingering back issue, and could really use a strong outing to help build his confidence in his outside shot at this point in the season. The Raptors also head out on a three-game road trip after this game.
For the Clippers’ part, they’re looking to hold onto their spot in the playoff race in the tough Western Conference right now, having picked up a comeback victory in Detroit on Saturday afternoon where they trailed by as much as 24 prior to coming back and taking control of the game with a dominant fourth quarter in which they outscored the Pistons 35-14. Combined with a Lakers loss last night, the Clippers now hold a 1.5 game lead over the Sacramento Kings for the 8th spot in the West, and are .5 games back from the Jazz for 7th spot. With that tough race for playoff positions, the Clippers need every game they can get, and will come out ready to play even on the second day of a back-to-back, and should be a tough opponent.
The matchup between the two squads, on paper, favors the Raptors, and they should be able to lineup well to defend the Clippers and find room in transition for their running game. However, with Jonas Valanciunas out, the Clippers may look to use their big post presences to establish space in the paint and dominate the boards to gain an advantage, and the Raptors may have a tough time contesting that.
TV: Sportsnet 1 | Radio: TheFan590 | Tipoff: 1pm EST. All the bets for this game and comparison of odds are on this website.
Jonas Valanciunas should be returning to the lineup soon, has been participating in full practice.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Delon Wright, Jordan Loyd
SG: Danny Green, Norman Powell, CJ Miles, Malachi Richardson
SF: Kawhi Leonard, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw
PF: Pascal Siakam
C: Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe, Chris Boucher
Danilo Gallinari remains out with a back injury, Luc Mbah a Moute has no timetable for return from a knee injury.
PG: Pat Beverley, Lou Williams
SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson, Tyrone Wallace
SF: Avery Bradley, Mike Scott
PF: Tobias Harris, Montrezl Harrell, Johnathan Motley
C: Marcin Gortat, Boban Marjanovic