Toronto Raptors (home) vs. Charlotte Hornets (away)
Current records: Raptors 3-0 ; Hornets 2-1
The Raptors come into Monday night's game undefeated at 3-0 after holding on for a road win in Washington. Nick Nurse elected to sit Kawhi Leonard on Saturday night against the Wizards, but barring a last-minute surprise is expected to suit up against the Hornets.
Kyle Lowry has been spectacular to start the season averaging 23.3 points, 8.7 assists on 61% shooting from the field. As TSN's Josh Lewenberg pointed out , Lowry who is typically a slow starter is having one of the most efficient stretches of his career. Though it's very early, if Lowry was to maintain his absurd 27.8 Player Efficiency Rating it would be by far the best of his career.
Serge Ibaka has also started the year with a different bounce in his step that Raptors' fans were hoping to see in the playoffs. Center Ibaka has been more efficient and far more effective than power forward Ibaka for Nurse's bunch. Miami and Milwaukee were able to pound the Hornets on the glass to the tune of 49-40, 57-41 respectively and while both those games came down to one-point results, Ibaka and the Raptors could exploit that weakness.
The Hornets come into Toronto riding a two-game win streak after blowing out the Orlando Magic and scarping by the Miami Heat.
Eastern Conference Player of the Week Kemba Walker has been terrific in the opening week of the season, leading the league in scoring at 35.3 points per game. In 22 career games against the Raptors, Walker averages 19.2 points, 5.3 assists and 1.7 steals. His biggest game against Toronto came on November 11, 2016, when he went for 40 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in a 113-111 Hornets' loss.
Unlike the Raptors, Charlotte has gone with the same starting five for their three games so far this season. Much like Toronto however, first-year coach James Borrego hasn't been afraid to go deep into their bench as ten players on averaging at least 14 minutes per game.
Second-year guard Malik Monk has been a pleasant surprise for Borrego this season averaging 14.7 points in 27.3 minutes off the bench. Monk's playing time was up and down a season ago due to his inability to lock in on the defensive end, but he's shown a renewed focus on that end of the floor earning him closing minutes in the early part of this season.
Last time they played...
Sunday, March 4, 2018
Toronto Raptors 103 , Charlotte Hornets 98
TOR: DeMar DeRozan 19 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds
CHA: Kemba Walker 27 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Where to watch
Time : 7:30 p.m.
TV : SN1 / SNO
Radio : SN 590
Location : Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON