Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs Golden State Warriors
Records: Raptors (22-7), Warriors (19-9)
Where to Watch
Date: Thursday, Dec. 13
Time: 9:00 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
Last time both these teams faced off, it was a thrilling overtime clash in Toronto but a lot has changed since then.
Not only does the floor change but it's all the composition of both rosters. The All-Star duo of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, who were both absent in the earlier contest, will suit up this time. On the flip side, there is uncertainty, at the time of writing, over the availability of Kawhi Leonard, who missed the LA Clippers game due to an injured hip.
Despite still leading the league with a 22-7 record, the Raptors have had an odd last ten days. They went from 20-4 to 22-7, that's 3 losses in 5 games albeit by a combined margin of just nine points and two of three losses have all come against respectable Playoff opponents in the Denver Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Raptors are third in the league in offensive rating (113.2) and seventh defensively (105.7), making them only the third team (Denver and Milwaukee being the other two) to be in the Top 10 in both categories. Nothing new in these stats though, the Raptors have been in those positions almost since the start the season.
In recent trends, Toronto will breathe a sigh of relief that Kyle Lowry received a warm-up game against the Clippers before facing off against the Warriors. It gave the All-Star a chance to get out of a mini four-game December slump. Against the Los Angeles franchise, Lowry recorded 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting, a huge improvement from his earlier four games in December where he averaged 3.8 points on 4-of-28 shooting from the field.
Coming to the team in the Bay, the Warriors have been rolling since Stephen Curry's return. With a record of 4-1, they've set the league on fire over this short 5-game span. They have the third-best offense and the second-best net rating but more importantly, their defense is starting to come back.
Ranked 17th for the season, over the past five games, it now stands in the top 10 at the 9th spot and it's only bound to get better with Draymond Green making his return in their game on Tuesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
A lot has changed since that four-game losing streak the team suffered, the first in the Steve Kerr era. To make matters worse, for the rest of the league, Golden State has a good chance to ride their momentum for the rest of the December as they play six of their eight games at home.
Given that the Raptors have been 4-1 without Leonard this season, this contest could be very entertaining and competitive in case the 2014 Finals MVP is ruled out of the contest.
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 30, 2018
Score: Raptors 131, Warriors 128 [OT]
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 rebounds on 58.3% shooting
Warriors: Kevin Durant - 51 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists on 58.1% shooting