Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns
Current records: Raptors (7-1); Suns (1-6)
The Phoenix Suns have gotten the 2018-19 season off to a slow start. After beating the Dallas Mavericks in their season opener, the Suns enter Friday's matchup against the Raptors having lost six consecutive games.
None of those games were particularly close either. According to NBA.com, the Suns currently have the worst net rating (-14.1) in the league and rank 27th in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency.
Even so, Phoenix has enough talent to make any game interesting.
It starts with Devin Booker, who is probable after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, and extends to Deandre Ayton, who has impressed so far in his rookie season. While they are both under the age of 23, they form a dynamic one-two punch that has the potential to dominate the NBA in the future.
The Suns also have an explosive scorer off of their bench that the Raptors will have to be wary of in T.J. Warren. The NC State-product already has two 20-point games this season, including a 27-point showing against the Golden State Warriors on Oct. 22.
With those three accounting for more than half of the team's scoring this season, slowing them down will be a priority for the Raptors.
On the other side of the court, keep an eye on Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas for Toronto. If Lowry dishes out 10-plus assists against the Suns, he'll tie a franchise record held by Damon Stoudamire that was set in 1996.
Kyle Lowry closing in on another Raptors record: Has 6 10-assist games in a row now, one off Damon's record from 96.- Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 31, 2018
As for Valanciunas, he's coming off of his best performance of the season - 23 points against the Philadelphia 76ers. If he can continue to give the Raptors a strong scoring punch off the bench, it won't be long until he's talked about as a potential Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
Last Time They Played
Dec. 13, 2017
Toronto Raptors 115, Phoenix Suns 109
TOR: DeMar DeRozan - 37 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
PHX: Troy Daniels - 32 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block
Where To Watch
Time: 10:00 p.m.
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Phoenix, AZ