Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors
Records: Raptors (18-4); Warriors (15-7)
Where To Watch
Date: Friday, November 30
Time: 6:30 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
The Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors meet for the first time this season while both teams are on win streaks.
After losing three straight games, the Raptors have won their last six in a row, four of which came on the road. They're coming off of an impressive comeback win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday in which they trailed by as much as 17 points in the third quarter.
The Raptors were led by Kyle Lowry's 24 points against the Grizzlies, but it took a team effort to defeat one of the Western Conference's best teams so far this season. Kawhi Leonard recorded his third straight double-double in the victory with 17 points and 10 rebounds, and four more Raptors scored in double-figures.
Fred VanVleet was one of those players, scoring 18 points off the bench on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting. His resurgence following a slow start to the season has been a huge reason for Toronto's recent success, as he's averaging 11.2 points on 57.1 percent shooting from the field and 5.0 assists over the last five games.
Led by VanVleet, Toronto's second unit is starting to look like one of the best in the NBA again.
For the Warriors, they've bounced back from losing four straight to win three in a row against the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Orlando Magic.
Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were both spectacular in those victories, combining for 72.0 points, 14.6 rebounds, 8.4 assists and 2.6 steals per contest. The Warriors will need more of the same from the two All-Stars as long as Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins are sidelined with injuries.
Curry was playing at an MVP level before he went down with an injury, posting averages of 29.5 points, 6.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. His return will go a long way in solving some of the issues that have plagued Golden State on offense, where they've ranked in the middle of the league in efficiency without the two-time MVP this season.
Green, meanwhile, is Golden State's best defender. With how many playmakers the Raptors have on their roster, having someone who can guard all five positions would help the Warriors slow down the second-best offence in the league.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, they'll be without Curry and Green on Thursday. Cousins also remains out after tearing his Achilles in January.
This will be the first time Kawhi Leonard has played against the Warriors since he suffered an injury in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
Leonard has career averages of 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game against the Warriors. His best regular season performance against Golden State came on Oct. 25, 2016, when he scored 35 points and came up with five steals in a San Antonio Spurs win.
Kevin Durant enters Thursday's matchup having scored 40-plus points in two straight games. He scored 44 points against the Kings on Nov. 24 and 49 points against the Magic on Nov. 26.
Durant has career averages of 26.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game against the Raptors. His best regular season performance against Toronto came on March 21, 2014, when he scored 51 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out seven assists in an Oklahoma City Thunder win.
Klay Thompson said ahead of the game that he wouldn't be surprised if this ends up being a preview of the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Raptors currently rank second in the league offensive rating. The Warriors rank third, trailing the Raptors by 0.1 points per 100 possessions.
Last Time They Played
Date: Jan. 13, 2018
Score: Warriors 127, Raptors 125
Raptors: DeMar DeRozan - 42 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Warriors: Klay Thompson - 26 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal