The Raptors are 4-17 overall, 1-13 on the road, have lost four straight, and finish a pitiful five-game road trip in Portland, where the Blazers are usually a tough out at home.
Start time: 10:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Mickael Pietrus, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Portland: Damian Lillard, Ronnie Price, Luke Babbitt, LaMarcus Aldridge, J.J. Hickson (I’m totally guessing on Price and Babbitt)
Toronto: Landry Fields and Alan Anderson are still out, while Linas Kleiza joins them in a suit tonight.
Portland: Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews are out, marking the first time in Matthews’ 250-game NBA career that he’s missing a game.
- Neither of these two teams are very good and the Blazers actually got blown out by the Kings in Portland their last time out, but from what we’ve seen from the Raptors recently, there’s no reason to believe that they can take advantage of a banged up Portland team. Aldridge should be the best player on the floor tonight, and even without Batum and Matthews, the Blazers should still be considered favourites at home, no matter what Chuck Swirsky says.
- As usual, the battle at point guard looks like the most entertaining matchup of the night, as Lowry will look to rebound from a couple of rough outings against Rookie of the Year candidate Damian Lillard. If there’s one thing that encouraged me about Lowry’s performance against the Clippers, it’s that his defence looked as good as it was before he hurt his ankle.
- If there’s one area the Raptors should have an advantage, it’s in the depth department. The Blazers already have the worst bench in the league (their 14.9 points per game is nine points worse than the 29th-ranked Lakers), so taking Batum and Matthews out of the lineup and subsequently moving two of those bench players up in the rotation should hurt their cause.
- Bryan Colangelo has been making the media rounds the last few days to express his own frustrations over the “unacceptable” start to the season and to address the various team-related questions that have popped up. You have to think those high collars are getting tighter and tighter…
- How about this latest photoshop job by theScore’s creative team (scroll down until you see the eerily aged faces of Bargnani and Calderon)? Big time H/T to Toby Fowlow yet again.