Toronto Raptors

Raptors' five-game West Coast trip stands to serve as great early-season barometer

10 days. Five games.

The Toronto Raptors' early-season trip to take on five Western Conference opponents is the latest test for a team that is still in the process of figuring things out. 14 games into the 2021-22 season, the Raptors have picked up wins that can be categorized as impressive and losses that are equally as confounding.

Through the ups and downs, one fact holds true: this is a good road team.

Toronto opens its trip having won five of its first six road games, with the lone loss coming to a Boston Celtics team that hadn't won at home up to that point. Among the Raptors' road wins are victories over that same Celtics team, the New York Knicks and Washington Wizards.

It's not often that a team like the Raptors that depends on young players for success is able to look so good on the road. It's a testament to the leadership of OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, the coaching of Nick Nurse and the poise of young players like Dalano Banton, Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr., each of whom have made big plays on the road.

As the team heads out West, it gears up for five opponents that each present different challenges.

Toronto Raptors' November road trip
Date Opponent Time (ET) Location Result
Mon, Nov. 15 at Trail Blazers 10:00 p.m. Moda Center L, 118-113
Thu, Nov. 18 at Jazz 9:00 p.m. Vivint Arena
Fri, Nov. 19 at Kings 10:00 p.m. Golden 1 Center
Sun, Nov. 21 at Warriors 8:30 p.m. Chase Center
Wed, Nov. 24 at Grizzlies 8:00 p.m. FedEx Forum

This might sound deeper than intended but the journey is a challenge in itself. Seriously, this team is going to rack up some serious flight points over the next week and a half.

(All distances from Air Miles Calculator.)

  • Toronto, Ontario → Portland, Oregon - 4,200 km
  • Portland, Oregon → Salt Lake City, Utah - 1,233 km
  • Salt Lake City, Utah → Sacramento, California - 856 km
  • Sacramento, California → San Francisco, California - 138 km
  • San Francisco, California → Memphis, Tennessee - 2,908 km
  • Memphis, Tennessee → Toronto, Ontario - 1,307 km

Over the course of the trip, the team will travel 9,335 kilometres and an additional 1,307 kilometres on the trip home. It's spaced out, but it's worth noting that on average that's about 1,000 kilometres of travel per day.

The team's road grind has been admirable thus far, but this road grind is different.

Nov. 15 at Portland Trail Blazers

After travelling over 4,000 kilometres, the Raptors' trip opened up with a visit to an old friend in Norman Powell and the Trail Blazers. Portland has hovered around .500 this season but under new head coach Chauncey Billups, the team is still working to find its identity.

Though they lost a heartbreaker at the Moda Center last year, the Raptors entered having won three of their last five in Portland.

The Raptors started strong behind a 23-point first half from OG Anunoby, but CJ McCollum took over down the stretch to power the Trail Blazers to a 118-113 win.

Nov. 18 at Utah Jazz

It should be no secret that Salt Lake City is not an easy place to play.

After starting out the season as one of the league's hottest teams, the Jazz have cooled down some, but they opened the season a perfect 4-0 at home. Last year, Toronto dropped a late-season decision in Utah by four points, but the Raptors have won four of their last five in Salt Lake City, including a statement win that preceded the NBA shutdown in March of 2020.

The one sweetener in this one is that the Raptors will enter Vivint Arena off of two days rest after facing the Blazers Monday.

Nov. 19 at Sacramento Kings

As of Monday, Nov. 15, Sacramento has the lowest win percentage of Toronto's five opponents on this trip, but that doesn't make this an easy game.

The Kings have some young talent making up their core, including De'Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and rookie Davion Mitchell. Also on the Kings roster is a familiar face in Terence Davis and one of the league's top Canadians in Tristan Thompson.

Last season, Toronto scored 144 to pick up a 21-point win in Sacramento. The Raptors' last road loss to the Kings came in November of 2016.

Nov. 21 at Golden State Warriors

Talk about a tough test.

The Raptors continue their trip when they visit MVP favourite Stephen Curry and the Warriors for a Sunday night showdown. The situation is similar to last year when Toronto travelled to San Francisco on a Sunday for the penultimate game of a lengthy road trip.

Last season saw the Raptors suffer a heartbreaker at the hands of the Warriors but the franchise has largely been successful in The Bay as of late. When factoring in the 2019 NBA Finals, Toronto is 5-1 over its last six games at Golden State.

Nov. 24 at Memphis Grizzlies

The finale.

The Raptors get another two-day break as they essentially travel from one coast to another to face an up-and-coming Grizzlies squad. Led by Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have been a nuisance to deal with this year and are the only team to earn a win at the Chase Center so far this season.

Canadian Dillon Brooks is back in action as the two teams that entered the league together in 1995 go head-to-head. Toronto is 4-1 in its last five games played in Memphis, including an impressive 15-point win last February.

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