Fan Duel Toronto Raptors

Gameday: Raptors @ Hornets, December 8

A winnable game against one of the most confused franchises in the league.

Toronto and Charlotte are meeting for the first time this season and will play again in 10 days. Both teams are currently out of the play-in picture but it’s still early.

Raptors scope: 9-12, 11th in East | Offensive Rating: 24th (111.0) | Defensive Rating: 13th (112.7)

The Miami loss on Wednesday without Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro (despite Pascal Siakam and O.G. Anunoby playing well) was bad. It caused a day of questioning whether the Raptors should make a starting lineup change involving Dennis Schroder, who shot 4-18 and seemed to hijack the offense on numerous occasions while also being a negative defensively. To Schroder’s credit, he was accountable for arguably his worst game of the season.

From what we’ve seen, Darko Rajakovic gives quite a bit of rope. So who knows if the Schroder-Gary Trent Jr. swap happens as fast as fans may want. Who knows if Scottie Barnes gets featured more in a point guard role, just to see what you have in his third year on a under .500 team. 21 games in, the word “evaluating” has been used quite a bit from Darko and Masai Ujiri. The identity has not been identified. It’s anybody’s guess.

Sidenote: No more dinner quotes please. It’s becoming a running joke across the league.

Hornets scope: 6-13, 13th in East | Offensive Rating: T-20th (112.5) | Defensive Rating: 30th (120.9)

Charlotte is a mess.

The Hornets have not won a playoff series since 2002 and haven’t qualified for the postseason period in the last seven years. They had the worst offseason of any team in the NBA, constantly in news circles for the wrong reasons. Miles Bridges found his way back on the court somehow. Kai Jones was the 19th overall pick in 2021 and is now gone. LaMelo Ball was playing his best basketball to begin the season (24.7 ppg, 8.2 apg) until he was sidelined with another ankle sprain. It’s a shame that Ball’s career has been plagued by ankle issues so often. He only played in 36 games last year. Remember, LaMelo made the All-Star in his sophomore season at just 20 years old.

As for guys in the lineup, Terry Rozier moves into the #1 option (22.8 ppg). Gordon Hayward has been healthy. The Hornets were eviscerated for drafting Brandon Miller over Scoot Henderson, however Miller is having the better rookie season (14.2 ppg, 39% 3pt). Mark Williams averages a double double but didn’t play in Charlotte’s last loss to Chicago.

The Hornets also now own the league’s worst defensive rating.

Game Info

Tip-Off: 7:00pm EST | TV: Sportsnet 1, 4K | Radio: TSN Radio 1050

Raptors Lineup

No changes with Christian Koloko (respiratory). Gradey Dick remains in the 905 with the other 2-way players. Whether a lineup change is made or not remains to be seen.

PG: Dennis Schroder, Malachi Flynn

SG: Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr.

SF: O.G. Anunoby, Otto Porter Jr, Jalen McDaniels, Garrett Temple

PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young

C: Jakob Poeltl, Precious Achiuwa

Hornets Lineup

LaMelo Ball (ankle) is expected to miss extended time. Cody Martin (knee) hasn’t played since January. Frank Ntilikina (leg) has been out since the preseason. Mark Williams (back) is questionable. Rookies Leaky Black and and Leaky Black are in the G-League.

PG: Terry Rozier, Ish Smith, Theo Maledon, Nick Smith Jr.

SG: Brandon Miller, Bryce McGowens, James Bouknight

SF: Gordon Hayward, JT Thor

PF: Miles Bridges, P.J. Washington

C: Mark Williams, Nick Richards

The Line

Toronto is once again favoured against a team missing their star player. Let’s see how this one goes.

Raptors-4.5 (-110)-174O 223.5 (-110)
Hornets+4.5 (-110)+148U 223.5 (-110)