The in-form Toronto Raptors will soon host the Dallas Mavericks who are slightly out of their depth. While the Canadian outfit comes into this game with back-to-back wins, their Texan counterparts are reeling from consecutive losses and will be looking to turn it around.
Date: January 18, 21, 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Records: Raptors (4-8), Mavericks (6-6)
These past couple of off-seasons, the Raptors have seen their cornerstones Ibaka, Gasol, and Kawhi Leonard walk out the door. Hence, they are way off from being the championship-contending team they once were.
And Spicy P is struggling for momentum; he is not the force this season that he was promising to be, though they still have some DNA from their title exploits in 2019, and this might be the best time to showcase it.
Guard – Kyle Lowry
Guard – Fred VanVleet
Center – Aron Baynes
Forward – Pascal Siakam
Forward – OG Anunoby
The Mavs are under-manned, and it’s starting to show now. Because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the likes of Maxi Kleber, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Jalen Brunson will sit this one out as well.
To make matters worse, Kristaps Porzingis has not found his rhythm yet after coming back from another knee surgery. He went 0-7 from the 3-point line in the loss against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday. Also, considering there is only a 24-hour recovery period for this, it may be difficult for him to play. But since the Mavs are short-handed, he may have to push through it.
And even though Luka Doncic recorded yet another triple-double, he and coach Rick Carlisle were not necessarily too pleased with his play. But they have to dust off the disappointment and go again.
Guard – Luka Doncic
Guard – Tim Hardaway Jr.
Center – Willie Cauley-Stein
Forward – Wes Iwundu
Forward – Kristaps Porzingis
It is hard to pick either as the favorites for this matchup. While the Raptors are carrying positive momentum, they didn’t face off against a force like Luka in any of their wins. There is no one in their lineup who could nullify his threat.
And at the same time, the Mavs need to put their pedal on the gas. Lack of intensity cost them against Chicago and they will need to come out firing this time around.
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