Toronto Raptors game previews between November 21 and November 27, including games against: Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Milwaukee Bucks.
Week 4 Summary (Last Week)
Anytime you have a back-to-back with the two teams from last years’ finals, it’s not going to be a good time. But hey, let’s hand it to the Raps; both games felt as if they could’ve gone either way. The fatigue of the back-to-back surely showed on Friday, as the Raptors scraped by the Nuggets in overtime with an 113 to 111 win, in what was perhaps the ugliest game of the season. To cap off last week, the Raptors lost a heartbreaker in Sacramento, as they legitimately invent a new way to lose. Once again, the Raptors get swept by the Kings.
Los Angeles Clippers
Monday, 21 November 2016 at 10:30 PM ET Away
The road trip continues as the Raptors take on the Clippers following the loss yesterday against Sacramento.
Last year, the Raptors were able to take both games with relative ease, but this is a truly revitalized Clipper team. What I’ll be looking for in this game, is how Dwane Casey decides to play the matchup with Blake Griffin. Pascal will start on him, but depending on how well he can contain Blake, will be determining how many minutes Patrick Patterson will receive.
I’m also intrigued to see the matchup at the center position. JV and Deandre is a good battle, but I’m more interested in seeing if Casey is going to give Bebe a chance at stopping Deandre.
Overall, this game is going to be won in the trenches. If we can get a good showing from our core of bigs, we should be able to take this game. That being said, with how the Clips’ have been rolling this season, it may be harder said than done. I see this being an extremely close game the whole way through, and I truly can’t decide a winner. I think this game is going to come down to one possession.
Toronto 97 - LA Clippers 94
Wednesday, 23 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
Houston was one of those teams that always seemed to have our number. Last year, we dropped both games by a combined margin of 9 points. Despite losing Dwight, the Rockets have made some great additions in my opinion, and this “Harden running and gunning at point guard, surrounded by shooters” scheme makes me extremely excited/frightened. This leads us to our three keys of the game;
- Stop Harden
- Try to stop Harden
- Please stop Harden
Being one of the greatest basketball players in the world, this isn’t easy. But I’m looking forward to seeing what defenders Casey is going to be throwing at James. I expect Norman Powell to get a fair share of court time this game.
Despite the brilliance of Harden, and the excitement surrounding this unique 8-5 roster, I think this is a game that the Raptors should, and will win. It’s going to be fast paced, it’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be fun.
Toronto 118 - Houston 111
Friday, 25 November 2016 at 08:00 PM ET Away
Friday night, in Milwaukee; the grueling 5-day road trip comes to an end. Following this game, the Raptors have Saturday and Sunday off, with a game at home against Philly. Although I’m not in the locker room, I can bet that they are going to enjoy this weekend.
Before the weekend comes, however, the Raps have a battle with the Bucks at the Bradley Center. I’m writing this piece fresh off of the Bucks duel with the Warriors last night, and I got to say: I really like this team. Their length, strength, and defensive intensity were immensely impressive. Also, shout out to Jason Terry! I was thinking the other day, “Where is the Jet?”, and lo and behold, he came off the bench and made a huge impact against the Dubs on Saturday night. This guy is great.
With that being said, Toronto swept the series last year, 4-0. The Bucks made some key additions over the offseason, and they’ve definitely carved out an identity in the league.
I think on paper, the Raptors have the superior matchup. On the negative side, this is their fifth away game in a row and their fifth game in eight days. This game is really going to depend on the young legs to carry them home, and earn their rest this weekend.
The guys are going to be exhausted this game, but I think they’ll make a game out of it. The Bucks have been home since November 18th, and have had Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday off before the game. I think Milwaukee’s energy gives them the edge in this game. It’s going to be a hard-fought battle, but I struggle to picture us taking this game, with the aforementioned conditions in play.
Toronto 89 - Milwaukee 97