Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Records: Raptors (7-3), Trail Blazers (4-7)
Where to Watch
Date: Nov. 13
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET
TV: TSN and RDS2
Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Prior to the start of Toronto's five-game road trip, this game had all the makings of a big-time backcourt clash with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum protecting their home floor against Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Both Lowry and VanVleet got off to hot starts and ranked first and second in the NBA in minutes per game, a workload that Portland's dynamic duo knows all too well.
We'll have to wait until the second meeting between these teams in January to see those two duos battle it out as Lowry is set to miss his third straight game after sustaining a thumb injury in Toronto's win at New Orleans last week.
Nevertheless, this game still presents an opportunity for VanVleet to showcase his game against what many consider to be one of the best backcourts in the entire league. Damian Lillard is a legitimate MVP-level player while McCollum ranks among the most respected two guards in the league and is in the conversation for best active player that has yet to make an All-Star team. Both of them have shown significant chops when it comes to coming up big in the clutch, just as VanVleet did in the NBA Finals and in the early going this season.
MORE: What we know about the Raptors after 10 games
With Lowry out, the Raptors will need VanVleet to step up offensively as he figures to shoulder a heavier than normal load. After opening the season with an efficient 12-18 shooting performance, VanVleet hasn't always been able to sustain his efficiency with the increased workload as he's shooting just 30.8 percent from the floor over his last nine games during which he's attempted 13.3 shots per game. Of the 113 players across the league taking at least 10 shots per game, only four are shooting worse than VanVleet who enters Wednesday's game at 35.5 percent on the season.
For Pascal Siakam, this game presents yet another opportunity to go up against an MVP candidate. The reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week is averaging 26.3 points per game, tied with Anthony Davis for eighth in the league. One of the seven players above Siakam on the scoring leaderboard is Damian Lillard who is currently second in the league in scoring at 32.5 points per game.
Beyond the biggest names, both teams are dealing with a litany of injury issues.
OG Anunoby was poked in the eye two minutes into Monday's game against the Clippers and is ruled out with a right eye contusion. In addition to missing Lowry, the Raptors are also missing both Serge Ibaka and Patrick McCaw. While the Trail Blazers knew they'd be shorthanded in the frontcourt for much of the season as Jusuf Nurkic continues rehabbing from his broken leg, they sustained a second major blow last week as Zach Collins dislocated his shoulder and is expected to miss at least four months. Portland could also be without Rodney Hood who has missed each of the last two games with a back injury.
The injuries have forced both teams to look for answers further down the bench. In the case of the Raptors, that's meant larger roles for Rondae-Hollis Jefferson and Chris Boucher, the latter of whom has delivered two straight strong performances off the bench. In back-to-back games against the Lakers and Clippers, Boucher is averaging 14.0 points and 2.5 blocks in just over 23 minutes a game and even hit three 3-pointers against the Clippers. Against a weakened Portland frontcourt, Boucher could be in line for a third straight productive outing.
TOR: Kyle Lowry (thumb), Serge Ibaka (ankle), OG Anunoby (eye) and Patrick McCaw (knee) are out.
POR: Zach Collins (shoulder), Jusuf Nurkic (leg) and Pau Gasol (foot) are out; Rodney Hood has missed the last two games and is listed as day-to-day (back)
- This is the fourth game of a five-game road trip (Raptors currently 2-1). This matches Toronto's longest road trip of the season.
- Raptors have won seven of the last eight meetings with the Trail Blazers.
- Raptors are 2-1 on the road vs Western Conference teams this season after going 11-4 last season. Their 11-4 road record against the West in 2018-19 was the best among all Eastern Conference teams.
- Pascal Siakam has recorded a double-double in four straight games, the longest such streak of his career. He's averaging 26.8 points and 11.0 rebounds during over that span.
- Portland went 13-2 at home last season vs Eastern Conference teams, tied with the Houston Rockets for best in the West. That included a 128-122 win over the Raptors. The Trail Blazers already have two losses this season at home against the East.
Last Time They Played
Date: March 1, 2019
Score: Raptors 119, LA Clippers 117
Raptors: Kawhi Leonard - 38 points, 14-22 FG, 5 assists, 2 steals
Blazers: CJ McCollum - 35 points, 12-20 FG, 7-11 3-pt FG, 5 assists