Fresh off a huge comeback win over the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night, the Toronto Raptors will be more than happy to return home Thursday when they welcome the Denver Nuggets to the Air Canada Centre.
Tonight's matchup marks the beginning of a six-game home stand for the Raptors. Canadian hoops fans haven't seen much from the Dinos so far, as the Raps have been forced to play 13 of their opening 19 games away from home thanks to a brutal early-season schedule.
Toronto (12-7) has won five of its last six and will be facing a reeling Nuggets team that's lost eight straight games. Denver (6-13) is playing in its fourth contest of a five-game road trip that's been plagued by some serious growing pains under first-year bench boss Michael Malone.
The Raptors match up well across the board against the young Nuggets, a team that boasts one of the worst offenses in the NBA. Denver ranks 26th in the Association in points per game (96.2) while averaging a paltry 81.3 in their last four.
Sickness or not, there doesn't appear to be any stopping Raptors point God Kyle Lowry. Despite leaving the game in the second quarter due to flu-like symptoms before returning in the third, Lowry ignited Toronto's comeback in the fourth frame in the form of a franchise record 22 points to steal a win at Philips Arena.
Denver Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay may be the queasy one tonight. Mudiay has been getting tons of minutes for the rebuilding Nuggets but has struggled with his shooting (32.1 percent from the field and 25.4 percent from three). Needless to say, being asked to go up against the red-hot Lowry will be a major challenge for the 19-year-old, and it won't surprise anyone if the wily veteran teaches the youngster a thing or two.
Lucas Nogueira had a huge performance last night, finishing with four points, seven rebounds and one block while ending up a game-high +22 in 16 minutes of action. If the Brazilian can capitalize on the rare minutes and follow that up with another solid night, it would be huge for a front court that's looking thin in the wake of Jonas Valanciunas' injury. Long live Bebe.
Considering the Raptors have upcoming games against Western Conference powers Golden State (Dec. 5) and San Antonio (Dec. 9), it's safe to say this one should be a gimme for the Raps, but then again, stranger things have happened.
The comment section below is awaiting your hot takes. Let's go Raps.