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Preview: Warriors head North of the Border to take on the Raptors

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The Warriors head to Toronto on Saturday night to challenge the surprisingly strong Raptors. Can they keep the streak alive?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Matchup
Toronto
Golden State Warriors
20!!!-0 (10-0 ROAD)
vs
Toronto Raptors
12-8 (4-3 HOME)
Details
December 4, 2015
Air Canada Centre — Toronto, Canada
2 p.m. PST
CSN Bay Area | KNBR 680 AM
Blog Buddy: Raptors HQ
Projected Starters
Stephen Curry G Kyle Lowry
Klay Thompson G DeMar DeRozan
Brandon Rush
F DeMarre Carroll
Draymond Green F Luis Scola
Andrew Bogut C Bismack Biyombo
Key Injuries
Harrison Barnes (ankle) - OUT
Kevon Looney (hip) - OUT
Jonas Valanciunas (Hand) - OUT

★★★

The Warriors...

... face one of their hardest challenges to date as they head up to Toronto to face off against the Raptors. As they hit the third game of this painfully long seven game road trip, they face off against an Eastern Conference elite foe in the hands of the Raptors, a team that always seems to raise it's game when they see the Golden State gold. Still without Harrison Barnes, the question nightly has become "who can step up and help contribute?" around the larger-than-life Splash Brothers. Who's turn will it be Saturday night to lend a helping hand? Will it be...

Andre Iguodala? He matches up defensively very well against the tough back court for Toronto. His amazing three-point shooting so far this season (.481%!!) have taken him from "guy you leave open" to "we have to cover that guy too?". In year two of the sixth-man experiment, Iggy looks healthy and more aggressive, making him an even bigger part of the second unit. Look for the Warriors to push the Raptors bench which is already very shallow, and look to push.

Andrew Bogut? Since the Raptors are already missing their starting center, Bogut could grab a huge advantage by putting pressure in the lane and bossing around the Raptors bigs. If he can create some fouls... draw some attention in the paint... it could be a long night for Toronto.

Draymond Green? You can only hold Draymond's shooting back for so long, and though his three-point stroke has been lacking recently, he should get plenty of chances to shine as the Raptors bigs slack back into the lane. Look for Green to light it up from afar to pitch in his usual extra scoring... along with everything else that he does.

Someone else? Between Brandon Rush, Ian Clark, Festus Ezeli... every night someone else is coming up big for the dubs. Who wants to fight for more playing time tonight? Especially as we are close to Harrison Barnes coming back and taking his minutes, who can make an impression to keep up the playing time?

The Raptors...

... have lost their last two at home. They are streaky team, currently struggling to get their identity back after a great star to the season. They dropped a heartbreaker to the Nuggets on Thursday 106-105, and will be looking to get their swagger back for an unusually early Saturday start time.

They continue to play hard under the watch of Dwayne Casey and crew, leading Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan in the backcourt to a winning record. Currently 12-8, they lead the Atlantic Conference in the East and sit in the middle of the pack in the surprisingly competitive standings opposite the West. They still love to play slow and grind their opponents out, getting to the line and taking away faster teams by clogging the break and chaining the pace of the game. They have the 7th best defense in the league, and even feature a surprisingly high offensive rating (4th).

When they last met...

... the Raptors gave the Warriors one of their biggest scares of the year to date. The Warriors jumped out to an early fifteen point lead, however the reserves couldn't hold the advantage and the Raptors clawed and sliced their way back in behind a physical, foul heavy game back in Oakland. They forced the Warriors into countless turnovers and won the free throw battle 39-18. Lowry and DeRozan both scored 28 points, but Steph countered with 37. The Warriors won 115-110, but it truly came down to the final possessions with the Raptors making some bad decisions before Golden State could put it away.

What's going to happen?

Awkward starting time? Physical team facing a road-weary Warriors team? The Warriors will be without another body who can cover the back court of Toronto in Barnes, however many of the turnovers in the last meeting came from Shawn Livingston being out of the lineup. I figure with each team's missing bodies, the Warriors will actually have the advantage with Toronto missing Valanciunas's scoring and rebounding.

It will be another fight, but the Warriors came to play and will have a better read on Toronto's tendencies. The Raptors haven't even seen Golden State at their best, and after a few off days with the extra rest and practice in Toronto on Friday, look for a quick start and to put this game away early.

This will be no blowout, but I'm picturing Golden State to take it 109-98 to push the streak to 21-0

(Follow me on twitter @badiehard)