After a soft arrival back from their road trip in the form of a game against the masterfully tanking Knicks, the Raptors run into a sterner test tonight. Squaring off against the Pelicans, Toronto will look for its seventh-straight win against Anthony Davis and his merry gang of players less good than Anthony Davis.
Toronto will hit the floor a little heavier in the hardware department, as Pascal Siakam enters tonight as the Eastern Conference’s reigning Player of the Week. Not that Siakam needs any extra confidence or spice in his stride, but the honour should help reinforce his heightened standing within the Raptors hierarchy. If he wasn’t already considered part of the team’s inner core, he most certainly has to be now.
Toronto will go with what has become the closest thing to a go-to starting lineup we’re likely to see this year. How Siakam and Serge Ibaka stack up against Davis and Julius Randle will have some bearing on the outcome. New Orleans is number eight in the league in Offensive Rebounding Percentage, top-five overall when it comes to snatching up boards; Toronto’s in the bottom five in defensive rebounding. Guarding Davis also happens to be pretty hard — the nerd in me hopes Kawhi Leonard gets a shot to line up across from him.
On the Pels’ side, they’re 6-6 despite a perfect 4-0 start to the year. Injuries and a lack of depth have hurt them, and they’ll have to get by without at least one of their rotation staples tonight. Elrid Payton will miss his eighth-straight game with a right ankle sprain. Nikola Mirotic’s own ankle sprain will keep him out as well.
Follow along with all the action here in the comments, as well as on Twitter (@RaptorsHQ). Enjoy the game!
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One: 7:30 PM ET in Canada; NBA TV in the States (you poor souls have to watch this one via Players Only)
New Orleans — Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Wesley Johnson, Anthony Davis, Julius Randle
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Playeroftheweeiakam, Serge Ibaka
New Orleans — Nikola Mirotic (out — ankle), Elfrid Payton (out — ankle)
Toronto — Norman Powell (out — shoulder)