The 13-2 NBA leading Toronto Raptors go for their 10th win at home this season against the 11-5 Dallas Mavericks in the second to last game in November.
It has been an unprecedented month for Toronto as the Raptors on a six-game winning streak have won 11 of their past 12 contests, average the second most points per game in the NBA at 108 and lead the league in points-differential by outscoring opponents by an average of 11.6 points.
The 11-5 Mavericks are the highest scoring team in the Association putting up an impressive 109.3 points on average. However, Dallas comes into Toronto on a bit of a slide after losing in Houston 95-92 minus Dwight Howard, losing to the Pacers 111-100 without Roy Hibbert or David West and barely eking out a win over the woeful Knicks sans Carmelo Anthony 109-102 in overtime.
The Raptors swept the season series with the Mavericks last year and All-Star DeMar DeRozan scored a career high 40 points on January 22. However, this isn’t exactly the same team the Raptors faced in 2013-14. Gone are Vince Carter, Jose Calderon and Shawn Marion and in their place are Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler and Jameer Nelson, but this team still lives and dies at the hands of future Hall-of-Famer Dirk Nowitzki and proficient scorer Monta Ellis.
The difference between these two teams likely remains at the defensive end of the court. Head Coach Dwane Casey brought his defensive principles with him from Dallas and the Raptors are a top 10 team in points allowed again this season at 96.4. The Mavericks reside in the middle-of-the-pack defensively permitting their opponents to score 99.8 points per game on average.
The starting lineup for Toronto is anticipated to remain the same as it has been since Rudy Gay was shipped off to Sacramento last December: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas. Off the bench Eastern Conference Player of the Week Lou Williams hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since he won the award and James Johnson should be over the flu and his sore ankle for tonight’s game. The Raptors bench has been outstanding, scoring 50+ points in three of the last four games.
Nelson, Ellis, Parsons, Nowitzki and Chandler are expected to start for the Mavericks. Reserve Brandan Wright averaged 13 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1 block and 25.5 minutes in the two games against Toronto last year.
This should be another exciting and high scoring contest at the Air Canada Centre.
Raptors reach very unfamiliar territory at 13-2, 4-0 vs the West & 4-1 on the road.