After the Brooklyn Nets blew a golden opportunity to beat the Warriors (seriously, why didn't they just foul up 3 against the best three point shooting team in the league?), the Raptors could be the first team to claim a victory this season against the defending champs. Before they get that chance however, they'll have to take care of business against the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings entered the season with as much if not more hype than any other lottery team, with an unhealthy amount of optimism about Rajon Rondo. Although the former All Star is averaging an impressive 13.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, his improved play has not translated to wins. Between Kyle Lowry and Pickering native Cory Joseph, the point guard matchup should not be the primary concern for Toronto. Where the Raptors will have their hands full is against DeMarcus Cousins. Despite sitting out four games, Cousins has been dominant in the early season, averaging almost 27 points and just over 11 rebounds per contest. In fact, Cousins has been so good that he doesn't even have time for high fives. Although Jonas Valanciunas' start to the season is nothing to scoff at, this will likely be the toughest test for him and the other Raptors big men thus far.
Assuming that Rudy Gay is able to play after missing the previous game with the stomach flu, his matchup with DeMarre Carroll will be particularly interesting. The Raptors prized offseason signing is in many ways the antithesis of Gay in terms of playing style, and has been a much better fit next to Lowry and DeRozan than Gay. It should be fun to watch the iso-heavy Gay going up against JYD 2.0's stellar individual defense.
All things considered, this is a game that the Raptors should win. However, as we've already seen, "should" does not always translate to "will." Although the Raptors are more talented, they face a Sacramento team that is athletic at every position and despite a 3-7 record and reported internal conflict, plays hard. Hopefully a predicted win on paper translates to a win on the court. In Skinny Lowry we trust.
Where to watch: TSN2, 9pm tip-off