Gameday: Raptors @ Mavs, November 4

Raps are hotter than fish grease, but the Mavs' offense is unstoppable. Or is it?

The Toronto Raptors’ season hasn’t been entirely sunshine and rainbows, but it’s been pretty darn close. For those keeping track at score: Pascal Siakam has been a legitimate MVP candidate. Scottie Barnes is a sniper, a passing savant, and a much improved defender. He is doing everything the Raptors need. O.G. Anunoby is the best defender in the league, and his offensive versatility has never been better. Chris Boucher is the Sixth Man of the Year. Otto Porter jr. is finally with the team. Fred VanVleet hasn’t been healthy, but he’s been impactful in a new role, and the team has been able to win while he’s rounding into health, which is phenomenal. Precious Achiuwa’s offense is still finding form, but his defensive is great, and they have had bench scoring without him, which is cherries on top.

Basically, if VanVleet and Achiuwa reach their peak selves on top of all the other positives, the Raptors can beat anyone. Consistently? Maybe.

The Dallas Mavericks meanwhile are one of the most unique teams in history. Luka Doncic is close to breaking every usage record ever set — he’s currently at second all time, behind only Russell Westbrook’s mark from 2016-17. Doncic does everything for the Mavs, and the ball doesn’t leave his hands. Will the Raptors blitz him, get the ball out of his hands, and mix that up with switching, dropping, and playing basically every defense ever invented? Probably? Could he diagnose all of that in real time and shred it? He has before. He’s a uniquely difficult challenge for the Raptors.

It would probably be a better defense to play more conservatively and let Anunoby guard Doncic in single coverage for most of the night. I’m sure the Raptors will do some of that. Let’s hope the other stuff works too.

Dallas’ offense is amazing so far this season because they take a huge percentage of shots at the rim and from deep. Toronto will have a hard task limiting one of those, let alone both. The defense is average, and the Raptors have been a top-five defense so far this season. They don’t turn the ball over, make their threes, and absolutely shred teams in transition. Not a bad formula. Expect a high-scoring affair tonight.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 8:30pm EDT | TV: TSN 4/5| Radio: SN 590

Raptors Lineup

Fred VanVleet (lower back stiffness) is questionable.

Update: Khem Birch is also questionable with right knee soreness, and the two-way players are both out on G-League assignments.

*probable lineup if Fred remains out, will update later*

PG: Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn

SG: Gary Trent Jr.

SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Thaddeus Young, Justin Champagnie

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Juancho Hernangomez

C: Christian Koloko, Precious Achiuwa

Mavericks Lineup

OUT: Frank Ntilikina (ankle) and Davis Bertans (knee) are out indefinitely.

PG: Luka Doncic, Facundo Campazzo

SG: Spencer Dinwiddie, Tim Hardaway jr., Jaden Hardy

SF: Reggie Bullock, Josh Green, Theo Pinson

PF: Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber

C: JaVale McGee, Christian Wood, Dwight Powell

The Line

The Raptors are underdogs by 4 points. hmmm. Over/Under is at 217 (which seems quite low).

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