Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. New Orleans Pelicans
Records: Raptors (5-2), Pelicans (1-6)
Where to Watch
Date: Nov. 8
Time: 8:00 p.m.
TV: TSN 1/4/5
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, LA
After defeating New Orleans on opening night, the Raptors will play the Pelicans for the second and final time on Friday.
Since that opening night win, the Raptors have gone 4-2, with wins over the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons and Sacramento Kings and losses to the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry have continued to play at an All-Star level, while OG Anunoby appears to be back on track following an up-and-down sophomore season. Anunoby has set various career-highs over his last six games, from blocking four shots against the Bulls to dishing out five assists against the Kings.
The losses have continued to pile up for the Pelicans, who are now 1-6 to start the season, their lone win coming against the Denver Nuggets in New Orleans. Zion Williamson has yet to take the court after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and both Lonzo Ball (right adductor strain) and JJ Redick (left knee bruise) are now dealing with injuries.
Even so, the Pelicans have to be encouraged by the early play of Brandon Ingram. The 22-year-old enters Friday's game averaging a career-high 25.9 points to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He's coming off of a 40-point performance against the Brooklyn Nets that caught the eye of his favourite player.
"He just told me to keep going," Ingram told Michael Lee of the Athletic about Kevin Durant. "Keep being me. He likes what he sees. That's one of - not one of my favorite players, that is my favorite player in this league. Just to have communication with him and see how great he is, and so much of the stuff he does, it's flattering."
The Pelicans have also had some strong minutes out of Jahlil Okafor to start the season. The No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Okafor has started in place of Derrick Favors for New Orleans in its last four games, posting averages of 12.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
Okafor will face one of the best post defenders in the league on Friday in Raptors centre Marc Gasol.
Patrick McCaw (left knee surgery) is the only player out for the Raptors. The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson, who continues to recover from knee surgery. Lonzo Ball (right adductor strain) is probable while JJ Redick (left knee bruise) is listed as questionable.
- Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet currently rank first and third, respectively, in the league in minutes per game.
- Lowry also ranks second in the league in 3-pointers made per game with 3.9. Minnesota Timberwolves centre Karl-Anthony Towns (4.2) is the only player making more.
- Lowry has scored 20 or more points in six games to start the season. He had 15 such games all of last season.
- Pascal Siakam has been at his best in the third quarters so far this season. He's averaging 9.7 points in the period, the second-most in the league behind only Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard (10.5).
- The Pelicans are generating 18.0 percent of their offence in transition to start the season, the sixth-highest rate in the league. One of the teams ahead of them? The Raptors, who are generating 20.8 percent of their offence in transition.
- The Pelicans haven't had trouble scoring the ball - they rank fourth in offensive efficiency right now - but they have the second-worst defense in the league, ahead of only the Golden State Warriors.
- VanVleet scored a career-high 34 points in the first meeting between the two teams this season.
Last Time They Played
Date: Oct. 22, 2019
Score: Raptors 130, Pelicans 122 (OT)
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 34 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block
Pelicans: Brandon Ingram - 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks