After a summer of overhaul and speculation, and a preseason of tinkering, the Toronto Raptors got their 2015-16 season underway on Wednesday night with a 106-99 victory over the Indiana Pacers at the Air Canada Centre. They will look to move their record to 2-0 tonight as they head to Boston to take on their division rival, the Celtics.
Boston won its season opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday as well, so there will be a perfect record on the line in this one. Yes, the quest for 82-0 will indeed end for one of these two teams tonight.
This game marks the beginning of a tough stretch for the Raptors, in which they will play 11 of their next 14 games on the road. A win tonight would make for a good start to that difficult run of games, especially since it would come against a team that seems to be Toronto's biggest threat to win the Atlantic Division this year in the Celtics (for whatever that's worth nowadays).
Things to Watch For:
1. Developing trends
Will Luis Scola continue to start at power forward? Will that position continue to be the black hole it's shaping up to be? Is DeMarre Carroll ok after his scary fall on Wednesday night? Can we expect to see Jonas Valanciunas play around 30 minutes per night on a regular basis and will we continue to see him in the fourth quarter (or was that merely a product of Bismack Biyombo's fouling out)? Can skinny Kyle Lowry continue to impress? Will DeMar DeRozan stop forcing shots in isolation and buy more into ball movement?
2. A familiar face
Amir Johnson was beloved in Toronto, and this will be the first time that Raptors fans see Amir in other colours since he joined the team in 2009. He had a great game in his Celtics debut, coming off the bench and contributing 15 points (on 6-for-11 shooting), to go with seven rebounds and a couple of blocks. The gap he left in the Raptors' starting lineup is starting to look bigger than initially thought, so a good performance on his part tonight would likely fuel the power forward debate even further.
3. Raptors debuts
Anthony Bennett, Delon Wright, and Norman Powell all stayed glued to the bench in a tightly contested season opener. Will either of them see his first regular season minutes for the Raptors tonight versus the Celtics, or will we continue to wait?
Where to Watch: Sportsnet One, 7:30 PM EST