I suppose we got a preview of the high-low rollercoaster we may see all season in the first two games alone?
The offence went from an anemic 83 points vs Washington, barely eclipsing the 30th percentile from the field, to 115 in a shocking blowout win at Boston. That was the Celtics worst home loss since March 2007 by the way. Getting booed off the court too? Chefs kiss. Still, the Raptors have the 26th best offensive rating so far (97.6).
On the flip side, the defence has been straight line consistent overall. Toronto has the third best defensive rating of 89.4 through two games, holding both teams they’ve faced under 100 points. Jaylen Brown went from 46 points vs the Knicks to nine. Jayson Tatum shot over 50 percent, but didn’t get off as many shots as he would have liked either.
In come the Mavs, who are licking their own wounds from their 113-87 ass kicking at the hands of the Atlanta Hawks. Luka Doncic was Dallas’ leading scorer in that one with only 18 points. As a team, the Mavs shot 33.3 percent in Jason Kidd’s coaching debut. Around the NBA, there have already been nine games that have been decided by 20 points or more through four days. Dallas had a rest day however, while this is the second night of a back-to-back for Toronto. The Raptors were 3-13 in those situations last season.
Key focus: Rebounding
The Raptors best bet for success is continuing to bludgeon teams on the glass. Through two games, Toronto has 40 (!!) offensive rebounds and an overall +21. This is a great change of pace from last year, where Toronto consistently lost the battle on the boards. Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa are both averaging 11 rebounds through the first two games, and OG Anunoby is hauling in four a game just on the offensive alone. OG (7-35) and Fred VanVleet (8-30) have had rough shooting starts so far, so continue to crash the boards for second chance points! The Raptors are averaging 17 more shot attempts than their opponents, getting off 97 attempts vs Washington and 100 vs Boston. More is more.
Tip-off: 7:30pm EDT | TV: TSN4 | Radio: Sportsnet 590
PG: Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina, Tyrell Terry
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr, Reggie Bullock, Josh Green
SF: Dorian Finney-Smith, Sterling Brown
PF: Kristaps Porzingis, Maxi Kleber, Eugene Omoruyi
C: Dwight Powell, Willie Cauley-Stein, Boban Marjanovic, Moses Brown
Yuta Watanabe (calf) remains day-to-day. Pascal Siakam (shoulder) is out. We’ve already seen different starting lineups for the first two games with Goran Dragic playing 12 minutes vs Boston, so this will remain fluid.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Goran Dragic, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn
SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk, Isaac Bonga, David Johnson
SF: OG Anunoby, Justin Champagnie, Sam Dekker
PF: Scottie Barnes, Chris Boucher
C: Precious Achiuwa, Khem Birch
Dallas is favoured by 3.5 points. The over/under is 216. Maybe hit the under again? It’s won both games.