Golden State Warriors (27-5) vs. Toronto Raptors (22-8)
How to watch
Date: Wednesday December 28, 2016
Location: Oracle Arena - Oakland, CA
Time: 7:30pm PST
TV: NBATV, CSN Bay Area Radio: 95.7 THE GAME
Raptors: Terrence Ross, Jared Sullinger, Delon Wright
Last updated 10:30am on 12/27/16
In case anyone forgot, the season did not end on Sunday.
There’s much more basketball to be played and the Golden State Warriors will look to shake off their most recent loss as they face the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena.
Raptors on a run
The Raptors are on a four game win streak heading into Wednesday’s match-up. Overshadowed in conversation by other powerhouse teams like the Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the San Antonio Spurs, the Raptors have quietly built a 22-8 record. They may be one of the few teams that stand any kind of chance in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
With all the talk about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson being the best back court in basketball, it would be a mistake to sleep on the combination of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan.
DeRozan is averaging an impressive 27.5 points per game so far this season and Lowry leads his team in assists per game at 7.2. Add in big man Jonas Valanciunas and his 9.8 rebounds per game and you have a formidable foe.
As of now, it looks like the Warriors won’t have to worry about sixth man, Terrence Ross, who injured his wrist on a spectacular 360 dunk against the Portland Trailblazers. Ross is the Raptors’ top bench scorer and a solid three point shooter. If he sits this game he will be missed by the Raptors, who will have to turn to Corey Joseph and Patrick Patterson to help carry the bench scoring load.
Warriors need to bounce back
Out of all the records and streaks the Warriors have held during the past few seasons, perhaps one of the most important is their streak of avoiding back-to-back regular season losses. Last time they lost two regular season games in a row? April 2015.
Despite being a favorite for pretty much every game they play, the Warriors have to face the reality that losses are going to come. Especially in the playoffs when everyone is playing for keeps and points are harder to come by. But a team with home court advantage who can avoid back-to-back losses is a tough out in the playoffs.
The Warriors managed to avoid back to back losses the entire regular season last year but had several back-to-back losses in the playoffs, including the back-to-back-to-back losses that cost them last season’s championship.
There’s no question that the ability to shake off a loss, especially a meaningful loss, is a learned skill, and the Warriors can practice that now. If there is any streak that the Warriors should be gunning for this season, this is the one.
And honestly, despite how good the Raptors are, if the Warriors want this W, all they have to do is protect the ball, protect the ball and, oh yeah, PROTECT THE BALL.
Score: Warriors 118 - Raptors 106
High Scorers: Stephen Curry (GSW) and Kyle Lowry (TOR)