Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet

Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dominic McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas (I’m just assuming that with a game under his belt, Lowry takes back his rightful place as a starter over the defensively inept Jose Calderon)
Charlotte: Kemba Walker, Jeffery Taylor, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens, Brendan Haywood

Injury report
Toronto: Landry Fields and Alan Anderson remain out
Charlotte: Ben Gordon is questionable, while Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas are out long term

Random Thoughts

  • The Bobcats are a surprising 5-4, but if you’ve actually watched them play this season, you’ll know that they’re not that much better than their historically bad team from last season. They’ve beaten the Pacers, Mavericks, winless Wizards and overachieving Bucks in Charlotte, while beating the Timberwolves in Minnesota on a nasty crossover and game winning shot from Kemba Walker. I have a feeling this Bobcats team will be much like the 2010-11 Cavaliers team, which started 5-5 and played well enough to open the season before finishing 19-63.
  • Kemba Walker is off to a great start in his sophomore season, averaging 18.8 points, 5.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 2.6 steals in over 36 minutes per game. If Lowry still isn’t ready to log big minutes and Calderon ends up guarding Walker for the majority of the night, I could see the Bobcats adding to Toronto’s embarrassment.
  • I’m also a big fan of No. 2 overall pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who continues to expend every ounce of energy while he’s on the floor, just as he did as a star on Kentucky’s national championship team. While I continue to make fun of the Bobcats (how can you not?), I actually think they have a couple of long term pieces in Walker and MKG.
  • I’m curious to see whether the loss in Philly was some sort of last straw for Dwane Casey in terms of shying away from Valanciunas in crunch time, but I highly doubt it. No matter how well JV is playing, he’ll likely always lose fourth quarter minutes to Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson this season, even when they don’t deserve those minutes ahead of him. Personally, I’d like to see what Amir and Jonas could do together for a stretch.
  • I’m still steaming over last night’s meltdown in Philadelphia, and a win against Charlotte won’t change that, but it is a necessary result if this Raptors team wants to go anywhere this season. A win might not cure our frustration, but a loss to the Bobcats might send us all spiraling into a sports-induced depression. I’m predicting a Raptors win tonight, but I am in no way ready to call it a sure thing, as the Raptors are very capable of more disappointment.
  • Ramon Sessions apparently forgot that he plays for the Bobcats, and that no team in the NBA, no matter how bad, is a game the Bobcats “should” win