Welcome home Raptors after an 0-4 West Coast Trip. They bring a piece of the west home with them taking on the Golden State Warriors. Not exactly the ideal team to return home to face.
The Basics: Warriors 4-2(0-2 on the Road) Raptors 1-5 (Last Win at home vs Cavs)
Last Time We Saw Them: The Raptors closed their west coast trip in less than impressive fashion dropping a game to the Blazer 97-84. The Raptors shot season low 36. 8% from the field and a season low 1-17 from 3 point range. The Raptors had 17 turnovers after the night before committing 21 to the Lakers. It was not a pretty night at the Rose Garden for the Raptors.
Common Opposition: Both these teams have faced the Jazz. Warriors were winners 85-78 and Raptors losers 125-108. Jazz shot 39.5% vs Warriors and 56.5% vs the Raptors. Warriors won the battle on the glass 52-46, Raptors also won that battle 36-35. Raptors forced 14 turnovers and Warriors forced 19. Both teams also played the Lakers as well. Raptors losing 108-103 and Warriors 107-83.
Key Match-ups: As the Raptors were slip sliding out of the playoffs last year you might remember a late season visit from Steph Curry in which it lite up the Raptors on the way to a Warriors win. Curry has been making jumpers on this floor long before any Raptor on this roster. When his dad Dell was a Raptor a young Curry was burning up the nets at the ACC. He has had an ankle injury early this season but it is not slowing him down scoring just over 20 a game. If you stop him you still have to figure out how to deal with Monta Ellis who is averaging like 28 points a game. Can Jack or Calderon stay with Curry or Ellis? That is with out even saying the load it will be for DeRozan to deal with one of them as well. If the Raptors can't stop them the odds of winning this game become very long. Not to mention both are more than capable 3 point shooters. Although they only shot 31% and 38% from distance so staying in front of them is likely the best strategy if you can do that. But if they start hitting the 3 they might be close to unstoppable.
Other Things of Note: David Lee is now a Warrior and is averaging 12 and 12. He has never been much of a defender though and this might be someone to target and try to take advantage of. The extra hour of sleep we got back on weekend might help the Raptors a little with the time shift heading home. However the history of Eastern teams coming back home in that first game after a extended visit out west is never good. Raptors are tied for last in the East and the only teams with worse records in the league are Clippers and T-Wolves. That was the bad news. The good news is the Raptors are tied for last in the East with the Bobcats who they play after this game on Wednesday.
In Case You Missed It: I made my weekly radio appearance on The Franchise Radio Show on the Team 990 in Montreal. It is live 7:20 am on Saturdays but if that is too early you can always look for a link to it here on Monday. Also I said there will be a big announcement for you folks that read the Dino Nation Blog this week. There will be. Just have to hammer out a couple details. I am off to cover the Raptor game tonight so look for some interviews over the next few days and check me out tweeting from the game tonight @dinonationblog on Twitter.