The peak of difficulty on this six game road trip is here!
Toronto (8-9) will take on Golden State (14-2) in what should be the Raptors biggest test of the season so far. After the missing the playoffs the last two seasons, the Warriors look like they are back to the 2015 version of themselves. Not exactly the ridiculous record setting 73-9 version the year after, but the “strength in numbers” motto is on the comeback. A perfect example of that was displayed in the Warriors win on Friday in Detroit missing Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Otto Porter Jr. Andrew Wiggins had 27 points, and has been a solid two-way player since coming from Minnesota.
Then there’s this guy…
The Third Splash Brother?
Sorry DeMarcus Cousins, it’s not you.
I’m referring to Jordan Poole. He came into this season as a trendy pick for most improved player and hasn’t disappointed. Shockingly, he’s shooting under 30 percent from three but he’s a microwave that’s a threat to drop seven or eight treys in any game and isn’t shy to fire 30 footers either. While that part of his game is still a work in progress, he has developed a good in between game, and also is a much better finisher at the rim. He had a season-high 32 points, even getting a reaction out of Curry on one of those layups. This is simply a game Golden State wouldn’t have won last year. The supporting cast wasn’t strong enough.
First off, not the biggest fan of this nickname. Former Raptors 905 defensive monster Gary Payton II is making the most of his opportunity in Golden State, locking up opponents and even knocking down the occasional three. He had 12 points on Friday which included three triples. Overall he’s 9-19 on the season from deep. He is an absolute menace defending on the ball, and unlike his hall of fame dad, can throw it down with authority.
the Gary Payton II experience pic.twitter.com/yWo9dLTgQO
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 13, 2021
The Warriors lead the league in defensive rating this season. You have to worry about both sides of the ball and Payton is one of the reasons why.
Chef Curry with the shot
Saving the best for last here, because everyone is running out of things to say about Steph Curry. The GOAT shooter is the MVP favourite right now and is in the midst of one of his en fuego runs before missing the Detroit game. Curry has made nine threes in four of his last six games. He’s dropped 40+ points in three of those. Curry is once again leading the league in scoring and if you take out the five games in the 2019-2020 season where Aron Baynes fell on his wrist and ended his season, Steph had shot north of 40 percent from three every year. He’s 46 treys behind Ray Allen for the most made in NBA regular season history, so that will be wrapped up in less than two weeks tops.
Fred VanVleet has his run-ins with Curry. Part of the reason Kawhi Leonard didn’t win unanimous Finals MVP back in 2019 is because of how Fred hounded Curry (albeit Steph still got his) in that series. He talked about facing Steph after the win in Sacramento.
“His spirit and his passion for the game is so good for the sport of basketball, and just how much he’s impacted people and kids all over the world and the way he carries himself. I always look forward to competing against him because he is one of the best of all time,” VanVleet said.
Tip-Off: 8:30pm EST | TV: Sportsnet | Radio: TSN 1050
Big news came out on Saturday that both OG Anunoby and Yuta Watanabe got upgraded to questionable!
PG: Fred VanVleet, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn, Goran Dragic
SG: Gary Trent Jr, Svi Mykhailiuk
SF: Scottie Barnes, Justin Champagnie
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher
C: Khem Birch, Precious Achiuwa
Curry and Draymond Green will be back in the lineup after a one game absence. Andre Iguodala (knee) is out. Otto Porter (foot) is questionable. Nemanja Bjelica and Payton are probable. Klay Thompson has begun playing 5 on 5, while James Wiseman is still a bit away from that.
PG: Stephen Curry, Gary Payton II, Chris Chiozza
SG: Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Moses Moody
SF: Andrew Wiggins, Juan Toscano-Anderson
PF: Draymond Green, Jonathan Kuminga
C: Kevon Looney, Nemanja Bjelica
Golden State is favoured by 9.5 points. The over/under is 216.5. The Warriors are the only team in the NBA to score 100+ points every game this season. Take the over. I’m 4-2 this season but dropped my last two. I’m pretty sure about this one.
Gameday: Raptors @ Warriors, November 21 originated on Raptors Republic.