The Toronto Raptors are traveling to Los Angeles to face off against Raptors legend Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers, this game is nationally televised so a much broader audience will get to see Toronto tonight.
The great news for the Toronto Raptors is that the Clippers have been struggling mightily on defense lately. The Clippers have had a defensive rating of 121.6 in their last 10 games and they have blown so many leads as of late. This is due to some defensive regression from Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and also poor guard defense after the addition of Russell Westbrook in the lineup.
There are favorable matchups all over the floor for Toronto, most notably Fred VanVleet with Westbrook on him, VanVleet should be able to get free in the pick and roll all night leading to many mid range jumpers with Westbrook on him. Hopefully Pascal Siakam can get out of his recent funk because against a potent offense like the Clippers have it will be imperative to put up a lot of points. He will likely have one of Paul George or Kawhi Leonard on him which isn’t an easy matchup even with them not being what they once were on defense. Scottie Barnes should also be a featured matchup tonight with Marcus Morris Sr. most likely guarding him, Scottie should be able to overpower him and really have his way in the post.
Defensively OG should guard Kawhi and Pascal should guard Paul George, but knowing Nurse we most likely see Scottie Barnes on one of these wings so Pascal can be in his helper/roamer position, The Clippers rim pressure isn’t the best so there’s a good chance that Scottie does well defensively tonight because he usually does better with the slower bigger players. Jakob Poetl will play a big role tonight defensively as he has every night while he has been on the Raptors, need him to protect the rim very well and be a release valve in the pick and roll and in late clock situations.
Toronto is within distance of taking the 8th seed from the Atlanta Hawks and every game is crucial in their hunt for the playoffs, this game will be a tough one because LA is really clicking on offense so Toronto needs to not only match their offensive output most likely but they need to contain one of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and Nick Nurse has been adept at taking stars out of their game.
Tip-Off: 10 pm EST | TV: Sportsnet One/4K | Radio: Sportsnet 590
Jeff Dowin Jr, Christian Koloko, Dalano Banton, Joe Wieskamp and Ron Harper Jr. are all with the Raptors 905(This is subject to change, will report as we are informed). Otto Porter is done for the season.
PG: Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn
SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr, Will Barton
SF: O.G. Anunoby
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa
Norman Powell is out(shoulder)
PG: Russell Westbrook, Terrance Mann
SG: Paul George, Eric Gordon
SF: Kawhi Leonard,
PF: Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum
C: Ivica Zubac, Mason Plumlee
The Clippers are favored by 2.5. Over/Under is 229
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