Toronto Raptors game previews between October 31 and November 6, including games against: Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards.
After a week of NBA basketball and two games under the Raptors’ belt, it’s safe to say that the collective “jitters” are out. After a dominating performance against the Pistons, followed by a nail-biting, frustrating, yet inspiring loss to Cleveland; the Raptors sit at 1-1 going into Week 2 of the NBA season.
Demar Derozan kicked his season off with a furious bang as he dropped 40 on the Pistons in the season opener at home. Following the win against Detroit, DD put up 32 and 7 rebounds in the loss to Cleveland. Oh yeah, and he capped it off with this disgusting poster in the clutch;
Jonas delivered a monstrous first week as well, setting his career high on opening night, with 32 points, along with 11 rebounds to go along with it. His scoring production was cut down against the Cavs - only 10 points - but JV dominated the glass, snatching a game-high 17 rebounds.
Lowry commandeered the offense well in both games, but struggled severely over the course of the week. He had a 10/8/4 game against Detroit, followed by a 17/4/2 outing against Cleveland. Over the course of the two games, he was 8 for 29 from the floor and 8 total turnovers.
Apart from “the-big-three”, meagre statistical contributions were given across the board. In terms of play, Casey seemed Siakam and Poeltl some serious burn during the week. Both rookies gave full-tilt effort while on the court, but are obviously still quite raw. Poeltl had a great stretch of minutes against the Cavs, putting up 7 and 7 in only 11 minutes. With Sullinger out for the coming months, it will be interesting to see what rookie will be absorbing the majority of Jared’s minutes.
As we waltz into week two, we’ll see our Raps’ go toe-to-toe with the Nuggets at home on Monday night, then off to Washington for a battle with Wizards on Wednesday, followed by the Heat on Friday night and the Kings on Sunday evening - both in the ACC. In terms of the league structure, this is a regularly easy week in terms of competition. In the NBA, there are no teams you can take lightly, but the Raptors are spared the expense of taking on one of the league’s powerhouses this week.
So without further ado, let’s get this week started off against Denver!
Monday, 31 October 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home
In last years season, the Raps’ finished with a 56-26 record. The Nuggets recorded a mediocre 33-49 record to cap off their 3rd straight losing season. Records aside, the Nuggets were able to steal both games against the Raptors last year. DeRozan led the way both games with a 24 outing followed by a 34 point outing. This wasn’t enough to fend off the Nuggets, as Nikola Jokic and Will Barton downed the Raptors in both games.
This season - I hope - is going to feature a different story between the two teams. For a team like the Raptors, a matchup against the Nuggets should seriously be a W. The Nugs’ have some solid weapons in Jokic and Nurkic down low, Faried’s relentless rebounding, Gallo’s bag of tricks on the perimeter and their young mixed-bag of tricky guards; Barton, Mudiay, Murray and Harris.
When you boil it down, the Raptors simply have too much depth to not lose this game. I don’t think it will be a cakewalk, but I expect the Raptors to simply outlast Denver down the stretch and put them away in the 4th in a very high scoring affair.
Toronto 121 - Denver 110
Wednesday, 2 November 2016 at 07:00 PM ET Away
It seems like forever ago that the Wizards embarrassed Toronto with a 4-0 sweep in the first-round of the 2014-2015 playoffs. Since then, both teams met a fork in the road, and both teams took different routes - whether this decision was ultimately up to the team or not, is up for discussion.
Despite the infamous sweep of 2015, the Raptors were able to sweep the season series last year. The Wizards have been thoroughly thinned out, in the past years, and face an uphill battle to make the playoffs this year. On the opposite side of the fence, when you have Wall and Beal in your backcourt, you have a fighting chance any night.
If Lowry and Derozan can win the backcourt battle, then this should definitely be a win for the Raptors. Gortat can be an issue down low, but I believe JV has the prowess to make it a competitive matchup. I expect the Raptors to blow them out and start this season series off where it ended last year, with a big W in Washington.
Toronto 104 - Washington 86
Friday, 4 November 2016 at 07:30 PM ET Home
A Friday night showdown in the ACC showcased the Raptors against a much different Miami team than we faced in the ECF last year. Like the Kevin Durant move, it still hasn’t fully hit me that Wade is no longer in Miami. It’s still unsettling to see Miami throw out a starting 5 that doesn’t have #3 thrown in at shooting guard.
With Bosh’s medical absence and Wade’s departure, it’s been a tough summer for the Heat. They’re still a solid, well-coached team, but they lack the firepower that comes with star players. Whiteside is a monster on the glass, Dragic can be a tricky point-guard to deal with, Winslow is an emerging defensive force on the wing, Waiters can give teams problems when he’s hot and retained free agent; Tyler Johnson is a strong, dynamic guard.
The Raptors won the season series last year, grabbing three out of the four games, and 4 out of the 7 in the playoffs. Like I mentioned. last year was a much different year for this Heat team. It will be interesting to see how this team performs, and how they will matchup with the Raptors.
I expect to see a competitive contest, with the Raptors grabbing the lead in the first quarter, and not letting go. The only way I can see this contest going the other way, is if Whiteside decisively wins the battle on the boards against JV and consistently swings the momentum Miami’s way.
Toronto 97 - Miami 90
Sunday, 6 November 2016 at 06:00 PM ET Home
With Whiteside on Friday night, then Boogie on Sunday, JV’s ability is going to be put to the test. In the past, DMC has given the Raptors all kinds of trouble. On top of the intimidation of facing Cousins, fear is shot into the hearts of Raptors fans across the nation, as we face this guy; Rudy Gay.
Joking aside, I’ve always had a sneaky feeling about the Kings. As in, if they clicked and hit their stride, they could be one of the most fearsome teams in the West. The Kings were able to win the season series last year, grabbing both games in semi-convincing fashion.
The Kings took both games against Toronto last year. JV was injured for the second of two games, but In the first meeting, DMC threw up a 36/10/3 night, while JV was held to 4 points and 5 rebounds, with a disappointing 2-9 shooting performance. Expect Jonas to come out with a vengeance, and take it to Demarcus. How this will go, I truly have no idea.
From the Raptors perspective, I believe that they have too much depth at the guard and wing department to drop this game. That being said - like the Wall and Beal combo - when you have Boogie in the paint, the game can swing in any direction, at any time. I expect this to be tough, grind-it-out Sunday game with the microscope on the matchup down low. I think it will be pretty back-and-forth until the mid-third, where the Raptors guard play will be too much for Sacramento.
Toronto 91 - Sacramento 86