Start Time: 6:00 PM ET
Channel: TSN2 (also the 2nd of the 3 straight games on NBA TV in the US)
Probable Starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Landry Fields, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Minnesota: Luke Ridnour, Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Derrick Williams, Nikola Pekovic
Toronto: No injuries to report.
Minnesota: Kevin Love – out until December with a broken hand. Ricky Rubio – out since March with torn ACL.
- It will be interesting to see who spends the majority of the game guarding Nikola Pekovic. The Raps were exposed by Roy Hibbert and Brook Lopez in the first two games of the season and Pek is probably more of load on the block than either of those guys. Valanciunas may not be the best post defender on the team yet, but it’s only a matter of time until he is. I would like to see that process sped up and I would have no problem seeing him develop with playing time at the expense of winning one or two games.
-Matchup of x-factors – JJ Barea vs John Lucas III. Very similar players, as neither scoring guard stands taller than six feet. Last season, Barea had a true shooting % of 50, while Lucas was just below him at 49%. Barea will be playing a lot of minutes until Ricky Rubio returns and Coach Casey may increase Lucas’ minutes to matchup. Barea started the season strongly with a team-leading 21 points in their opener against the Kings.
-The T-Wolves have lost 14 of their last 15 trips to Toronto and 8 straight – for whatever that’s worth as these two rosters had a lot of turnover in the off-season. Andrei Kirilenko and Brandon Roy now give the Wolves their best wing tandem since the days of Latrell Sprewell and Wally World.
-Look for Kyle Lowry’s hot start to continue against the defensively challenged Luke Ridnour. Lowry is a beast when he puts his head down and drives to the rim and his 3-pt shot has looked very consistent through two games. As per @checktheticker, Lowry was the first Raps player since Mike James in 2006, to record 28 pts, 8 reb & 8 ast in a game. He has also amassed 8 steals in two games. Although his steals are often a result of sagging off his man, Lowry has rarely been burned by leaving his check.