Where to watch: TSN 1, 4, 5, 8:30 PM EST
The Raptors head to the state of Texas with hopes to recover from losing to a depleted Pelicans team missing Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. In Dallas awaits the Mavericks, who despite losing Chandler Parsons for the next few games, have recently added former All-Star Amare Stoudemire to their bench. Also worth mentioning, Rick Carlisle somehow managed to convince Richard Jefferson that we are back in the year 2003:
All in all, the Mavericks should serve as a good test for the Raptors; they are good but beatable. Dirk Nowitzki has shown signs of slowing down, Rajon Rondo has yet to prove his detractors wrong about being a poor fit within the Mavs' offensive scheme, and despite a strong fourth quarter in their previous game against the Hornets, Monta Ellis has had a string of bad games post-All-Star break. That said, Tyson Chandler is playing at an extremely high level and Dallas' bench (and former Raptor Charlie Villanueva) has become a point of strength.
For the Raptors, this game has to start with its leaders getting back on track. For one, the trio of Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams cannot shoot a combined 15-42 from the field again and expect to win. Also, with or without Patrick Patterson, the Raptors Bigs have to come ready to play. As mentioned, Tyson Chandler is still a dominant defensive force, and both Al-Farouq Aminu and Amare Stoudemire are strong and active rebounders.
From Lowry vs. Rondo, Ellis vs. DeRozan, to Jonas vs. Tyson, this game has a lot of intriguing match-ups. As a heads up: don't sleep on Al-Farouq Aminu. The former eighth overall pick has really come on strong since right before the All-Star Break, and will make the Raptors pay if they don't remember to put a body on him.
Hopefully the Raptors can pull it together and add win number 38 before heading to Golden State to face the Warriors on Friday.
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