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Preview: Warriors will have hands full in early road test against Raptors

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The wounded Warriors head to Toronto to face a rejuvenated Kawhi Leonard.

Toronto Raptors v Boston Celtics Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Game Details

WHO: Golden State Warriors (15-7) at Toronto Raptors (18-4)

WHEN: Thursday, November 29th, 2018, 5:00 p.m. PST

WHERE: Scotiabank Arena — Toronto, Canada

WATCH: TNT, NBCSBA

LISTEN: 95.7 The Game

BUDDY BLOG: Raptors HQ

Injuries

Warriors: DeMarcus Cousins (left Achilles rehab), Draymond Green (right toe sprain) and Stephen Curry (left groin strain) are out. Alfonzo McKinnie (left foot soreness) TBD. Damion Lee (stomach virus) is questionable.

Raptors: Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation) is out.


The Toronto Raptors in recent years have piled up lots of regular season wins and stockpiled solid talent, but never made their mark in the playoffs. They have been routinely disrespected, even having “The Barney Theme” music played for their introductions on the road during the postseason. As much as NBA Hipster Twitter tried to make us believe in them, their identity was squarely stuck as “Dinner for LeBron James”.

That appears to have changed with the addition of the stoic, cornrowed superhuman, Kawhi Leonard.

The team that was the #1 seed in the East last year swapped their failed superstar experiment DeMar DeRozan for Leonard and the battle tested 3-and-D shooting guard, Danny Green.

The results so far have been problematic for the rest of the NBA.

ESPN Stats and Information gives us the rundown on their dominance at the time of this writing:

  • Best record in the NBA at an impressive 18-4, currently riding a six game winning streak.
  • 2nd best points per game differential at +8.9.
  • Top 3 in scoring and top 6 in defending in terms of PPG.
  • Leonard is averaging 24 points and 8 rebounds and just under 2 steals per game. Did I mention he left Jordan Brand to become the face of NEW BALANCE?! This is the equivalent of Martha Stewart leaving her luxurious home kitchen to make five course meals using only kerosene light and an E-Z bake oven.

Anybody who dominates you in these shoes is a Hall-of-Famer and is to be feared.

The Warriors will need all hands on deck

The injured champs are regaining their mojo, erasing a four game losing streak with a three straight victories. Those wins all came at home, and two went down to the wire against the Kings and Magic. Golden State has temporarily patched itself together around the two-headed monster of All-Stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson in the absence of greatest point guard alive Stephen Curry and All-World defender Draymond Green.

The Dubs are headed to chilly Toronto to do battle against a hungry team looking to make a statement to the world at the wounded champs’ expense. Unfortunately, Green is probably going to remain out with his toe injury, and Curry will sit a little longer due to his groin injury.

It’s unfortunate because it would have been a homecoming of sorts after all as his father played for the Raptors.

Curry’s family friend, Raptors ambassador and Toronto MC, Drake, will undoubtedly be stalking the sidelines razzing Steph and rousing the Canadian fanbase into a frenzy.

Oh yeah, and the last time Leonard played high pressure basketball against the Warriors, he almost single-handedly destroyed us until his body collapsed from the sheer gravitational force of his dominance.

Golden State remembers, and the competitive Durant will be looking forward to this monumental clash. The Raptors have the Warriors full attention.

Gold-Blooded Prediction: WOW! This is gonna be a good one. I would love to have Curry, but I trust Durant and Thompson to reach deep within themselves and unleash pure hell on Toronto, no matter what shoes Leonard is wearing.

This will be a great early season test for both teams. LET’S GET IT ON!!

Warriors 114, Raptors 111