- When: Wednesday November 16th at 5pm Pacific time.
- Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto.
- Coverage: Television - ESPN & CSN | Radio - 95.7 The Game
- Blog Buddy: RaptorsHQ
The Warriors will take their show on the road on Wednesday night as they visit the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have been impressive early on in the season; they're off to a 7-2 start and that's in spite of some setbacks for their starting center Jonas Valanciunas. For the Warriors this will be the first of four road games versus Eastern conference opponents, and they'll want to start the trip on a high note.
The one man wrecking crew
A lot of the credit for the Raptors great start has to go to their superstar wing DeMar DeRozan, who has been setting the net ablaze in the first nine games of the season. DeRozan has defied analytical trends by dominating teams in the most antithetical way possible to the modern NBA. He is feasting on mid range jumpers and attempting very few three point shots.
DeMar DeRozan with 7th 30+ outing in first 8 games to start season. Last player to do that: Michael Jordan in 86-87. #rtz— RaptorsMR (@RaptorsMR) November 12, 2016
This game will be the Raptors second game in an absolutely brutal back to back that faced them off against the reigning NBA Champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, before heading back to Toronto to take on the Warriors. The Warriors will hopefully be able to take advantage of the Raptors — specifically DeRozan’s — fatigue and run them off the court.
Keys to victory
- Rebounding - The Raptors are far from elite when it comes to rebounding, but considering the Warriors are currently ranked in the bottom 10 for rebounds per game it's something worth watching out for.
- Perimeter defense - The Raptors are a solid team on both sides, but as a unit they have struggled to get their shots to fall, making a pitiful 29% of their three point attempts on average this season. The Warriors can't be fooled by this however. Toronto does have good shooters, and if the Warriors fall asleep on defense as they've been prone to doing all season, this could get messy. They also have to be aware of the ball handler attacking the basket; Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson still haven't gotten out of the habit of funneling their man to the middle. They did this for years with Andrew Bogut protecting the rim, but with Zaza Pachulia in his place, it's simply not a good idea.
- Finish strong - A pattern has emerged where the Warriors start off by building enormous leads only to fritter them away. The Raptors on the other hand are becoming notorious for starting games slow and then heating up later on. Even with an early lead, the Warriors can't get comfortable against this team. Keep the pedal to the floor.
There has been a lot of "FreeMcGee" hashtags on twitter the past couple of days including one from Draymond Green’s mom. It's clear DubNation wants to see JaVale McGee play more, and we might just get our wish if the Warriors are struggling inside or if indeed it does become a blowout. Kerr has already hinted that McGee might receive more minutes, so we can only hope.
By the numbers