The Raptors continue their 4-game road trip by staying in Texas, this time to visit the Dallas Mavericks.
All eyes will be on Luka Doncic. The perennial MVP candidate has started the season on an absolute tear, leading his team to a 6-1 record. While all those wins have been against teams that may not even make the playoffs (and trailing in the 4th quarter in four of those wins), wins are wins and Luka has been a cheat code for Dallas. Will he get the OG Anunoby treatment? If so, how will he fare against one of the best defenders in the league?
While most eyes will be on that heavyweight tilt, let’s not forget about Kyrie Irving! He’s been in a lot of Raptors highlights (lowlights??) over the years. Dennis Schroder has held up wonderfully on the defensive end so far. Assuming OG makes life difficult for Luka, Kyrie’s usage should increase. If Schroder keeps Irving in check, the Raptors could be leaving the state with a pair of Texas-sized road wins!
How to Watch:
TSN at 8:30 p.m. ET
Toronto: Dennis Schroder, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl
Dallas: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., Grant Williams, Dereck Lively II
Toronto: Christian Koloko (respiratory; out), Precious Achiuwa (groin; questionable)
Dallas: Maxi Kleber (toe; questionable)
A tale of two halves
As far as Jekyll & Hyde comparisons go, you won’t be able to do much better than the Dallas Mavericks. They currently rank 29th in Defensive Rating in the first half (only the Wizards are worse defensively) and 26th in Net Rating. To put that Net Rating in perspective, the other nine teams in the bottom 10 are all sub-.500 teams.
I’m not sure what Jason Kidd says to the team at halftime but the Mavs emerge as an offensive juggernaut. Dallas ranks 1st in Offensive Rating and Net Rating in the second half. To put their Offensive Rating (127.8) in perspective, the Sacramento Kings set an NBA record last season with an Offensive Rating of 118.6! Toronto’s 29th-ranked first-half offense better figures things out quickly before the Mavs shift into high gear.
A tale of two rocks colliding
The Mavericks have a lethal 3-point attack that’s #1 in threes made and attempted, and #2 in 3-point FG%.
The Raptors have an impenetrable 3-point defense that’s #1 in opponent threes made and #2 in opponents’ 3-point FG%
Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Grant Williams(!?!?!) have combined to hit 81 three-pointers in their first seven games.
The Raptors have collectively hit 88 three-pointers in his first seven games.
A tale of two Shammgods
Seriously, is there anything Doncic CAN’T do with a basketball? Pulling the Shammgod on God himself is……just….wow!
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