The last time these two teams faced off, it was an overtime thriller where the Golden State Warriors fell just short in spite of Kevin Durant’s 51 point explosion. Things will hopefully look a bit different this time around with both Draymond Green and Stephen Curry available.
Andre Iguodala is listed as questionable, but with coach Steve Kerr mentioning that he’s going to start giving rest to the veterans (Iguodala and Shaun Livingston basically) my guess is that Iguodala sits out this game.
WHO: Warriors vs. Raptors
WHEN: Wednesday, December 12; 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Oracle Arena — Oakland, CA
WATCH: NBCSBA, ESPN
RADIO: 95.7 The Game
“Oh, I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive”
It’s just a regular season game, but teams like to get the regular season sweep if at all possible.
These aren’t the same Golden State Warriors that took the Raptors to overtime a few weeks ago. At that time, the Warriors were just straightening out their wobble and they still managed to take the game to overtime. It required a huge comeback, but one that Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson were more than capable of leading. Now? The Raptors are going to be forced to contend with a full powered Warriors team — and one featuring a very dangerous and dominant iteration of Stephen Curry.
He already averages more points against the Raptors than any other team, and he’s on an absolute tear right now. In spite of missing 11 games, he still leads the team in three pointers. In fact, his return has ushered in a new renaissance of shooting that would make Don Nelson proud.
From Anthony Slater’s recap at the Athletic, just take a look at Curry’s shot rate, as well as the impact his return has had to the team overall (bolded emphasis added):
Despite their shooting prowess, this was the first time in franchise history the Warriors have made 16 or more 3s in three straight games. And it’s actually 18 or more. They made 18 in Cleveland, 19 in Milwaukee and 19 on Monday night.
The second shocking stat of the night: Curry made 7 of 14 from deep against the Wolves and is now 91 of 182 from 3 on the season, exactly 50 percent. There’s no way, at his volume, he could stay at or above that mark for the season, right?
Note that on the season, Golden State has been averaging just 12 threes per game. So this is a significant change.
Remember, that without Curry, Durant went of for 51 points (and did so with extreme efficiency). Adding Curry and Green to this matchup isn’t just a new wrinkle, it’s a major fold in the fabric of what the Warriors can do as a team.
The Raptors have cooled off but still pencil in as one of the top teams in the East
After starting the season with a roaring 20-4 start, the Raptors have lost three of their last four games and will be heading into the matchup against the Warriors on the tail end of a back-to-back. They held Kawhi Leonard out of last night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, but he came out of their previous game with some sort of leg injury — they called it a “hip bruise” — so it isn’t clear yet if he’ll play against the Warriors. He’s been held out for back-to-back games so far this season, but my guess is that he and Toronto will want him on the court for a nationally televised game against the league’s best team.
Regardless, the Raptors are not to be taken lightly. As we’ve seen with the second game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State remembers their losses — especially to top-tier opponents.