Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. LA Clippers
Records: Raptors (16-7), Clippers (18-7)
Where to Watch
Date: Dec. 11, 2019
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN 1/4/5 (Canada), Fox Sports Prime Ticket or ESPN (USA)
Location: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Kyle Lowry has already said it best: "It's gonna be an unbelievable night for the first five minutes and then after that, it's a basketball game."
After 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard receives his championship ring in his first trip back to Toronto as a member of the Clippers, there's a ballgame to be played.
A good one at that.
It's game four of a six-game road trip for the Clippers, who have won eight of their last 10 games and have looked quite scary aside from recent letdowns in San Antonio and Milwaukee. Toronto, on the other hand, begins a three-game homestand and looks to build momentum after snapping a recent losing streak in Chicago on Monday.
Toronto's most recent win over the Bulls was a defensive battle, powered by Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby, who exited the first meeting between the Raptors and Clippers after suffering an eye injury two minutes into the game.
Defence will again be a major key for the Raptors, who will have a number of weapons to try and slow down the Clippers, beginning with Kawhi Leonard, who was held to a season-low 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds, nine assists and a career-high nine turnovers the first time the teams met on Nov. 11. With Anunoby in the lineup this time, it is likely that he is the first to be tasked with slowing Kawhi down.
MORE: Can the Raptors shut down Kawhi again?
The Raptors now also have to focus on Paul George, who is averaging 23.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists on .446/.419/.912 shooting splits since making his Clippers debut on Nov. 14. After George, there's Lou Williams (20.0 ppg, 6.2 apg, 3.1 rpg) and Montrezl Harrell (19.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.0 apg), who combine to form the league's most dangerous reserve duo.
Factoring in the hounding defender that is Patrick Beverley and the rotational talents of Ivica Zubac, JaMychal Green, Moe Harkless and Patrick Patterson, and the Raptors will have their hands full.
Offensively, Toronto will again lean on Pascal Siakam, who is looking to emerge from a mini-slump. Despite averaging 19.3 points and 8.5 rebounds over the last four games, Siakam is shooting just 38.9% from the field and 20.0% from beyond the arc. It should come as no surprise that his numbers are significantly better in wins, meaning his play will be crucial to success against a strong opponent.
With Fred VanVleet's status up in the air due to a right knee contusion, the onus is on Kyle Lowry and Norman Powell to produce on the perimeter, and both have answered the call. Powell was big down the stretch in Chicago and Lowry has shown up in a big way on the offensive end since finding his rhythm after his return from injury.
Rhythm has been a buzzword in the Raptors' locker room lately, as their recent stretch has been attributed to a lack of rhythm and a need to get on the same page. What better time to do so than with a legitimate title contender in town?
- Stanley Johnson (groin) - Out
- Patrick McCaw (knee) - Out
- Matt Thomas (finger) - Out
- Fred VanVleet (knee) - Questionable
- Landry Shamet (ankle) - Out
- Rodney McGruder (hamstring) - Out
- This begins a three-game homestand for the Raptors, who are currently 9-2 at Scotiabank Arena this season.
- It's game four of a six-game road trip for the Clippers, who have a road record of 5-6.
- Toronto enters the night with a 6-3 record against Western Conference opponents; LA is 7-2 against opponents from the Eastern Conference.
- The Clippers are 7-4 against teams at .500 or above while the Raptors are 3-7 against such teams.
- LA has three former Raptors. Aside from Kawhi Leonard (84 total games), Patrick Patterson (314 total games) and Lou Williams (84 total games) each spent time in Toronto.
- Clippers rookie Mfiondu Kabengele is a native of Burlington, ON.
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 11, 2019
Score: Clippers 98, Raptors 88
Clippers: Lou Williams - 21 points (7-15 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 16 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists