The Toronto Raptors fell behind by 25 points after the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors last night. It sure seemed like a night where Dwane Casey would be able to limit Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan's minutes.
That really didn't happen, which is kind of unfortunate but made what looked like a blowout into an entertaining matchup. The Raptors annoyingly clawed their way back into the game, trimming the deficit to as few as five points, but ultimately fell short. Lowry and DeRozan ended up playing 40 and 39 minutes respectively, but at least the latter was able to become the Raptors' all-time leading scorer in his home state of California.
Now it's off to Phoenix for a date with the lowly Suns, who are also playing the second night of a back-to-back. Phoenix is bad, real bad, but this is the definition of a trap game for Toronto. Coming off a loss to the NBA's best team in which most key players had to shoulder a heavy load, the Raptors now have to deal with the second-fastest team in the NBA. Not ideal, no matter how inferior the opponent is.
In other news, DeMarre Carroll will start back-to-back games for the first time this season.
DeMarre Carroll will start back-to-back games for the first time this season tonight in Phoenix.— Mike Ganter (@Mike_Ganter) December 30, 2016
This could, and probably should be a walk-in-the-park win, but as we saw against the Lillard-less Trail Blazers earlier this week, anything is possible out on the road.
For three keys to the matchup, check out John Gaudes' thorough game preview and then get to the comments.