Los Angeles Clippers at Toronto Raptors Preview
In an interconference matchup on ESPN tonight, Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard makes his first return back to the city of Toronto, where he played the 2018-19 season and won the 2019 NBA Championship. He’ll likely receive a red carpet welcome back as he collects his ring from the city and team he helped give their first NBA title to.
The Clippers are currently second in the Western Conference with a 18-7 record. They have won their last two games, are 8-2 in their last ten games and have a road record of 5-6. The Raptors have done well this season seemingly ushering in a new era without two of the key players that helped them win their championship. Toronto is 16-7 and fifth in the Eastern Conference. They won their last game, are 7-3 in their last 10 and an excellent 9-2 at home at Scotiabank Arena.
In their first matchup of the season last month in Los Angeles, the Clippers won 98-88 with Lou Williams leading the way with 28 points.
Time: 7 PM ET
Arena: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Clippers: Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, Amir Coffey (O), JaMychael Green (D)
Raptors: Fred VanVleet (Q), Stanley Johnson, Patrick McCaw(O)
LA Clippers Starting Lineup
While tonight’s game will be the first return of Leonard to Toronto, the former Spur and Raptor said he’ll be treating it like every other game.
“I’ll be thinking about just playing against the team and wanting to win the game for the most part,” Leonard said recently. “Just really getting my ring that night. We’re there for one reason. To play the Raptors and try to win the game.”
In their most recent game on Monday night, the Clippers played in Indiana in what was sort of a homecoming for Paul George who left the Pacers several seasons ago. Still, the feelings still seem to be fresh for Pacers fans, who booed George. I wouldn’t expect the same for Leonard in Toronto.
In the 110-99 win, the Clippers were without Leonard, but they led the Pacers in the first three quarters so they were able to coast to the win in the fourth.
Paul George, for as much as he was booed, got the last laugh with 36 points, nine rebounds, and five assists. Ivica Zubac had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Patrick Beverley had 11 points and 12 rebounds to go with his five assists. In a game where Lou Williams struggled, the Clippers needed Montrezl Harrell off the bench, and he came through with 26 points and eight rebounds.
Leonard will be back in action tonight.
Toronto Raptors Preview Starting Lineup
The Toronto Raptors seemed on their way to a fourth straight loss on Monday night against the Chicago Bulls. The teams had gone pretty much back and forth all game and it was tight in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter. To point guard Kyle Lowry, his Raptors definitely needed to take steps to correct their errors and pull out the win.
“I asked coach to call a timeout and I pretty much brought us together,” Lowry said. “It’s that time of the year when it’s a month and a half in, two months in. You know, guys coming back from injury and we just kind of hit a big, tough part in the schedule. We just had to start being on the same page, be dogs again, be aggressive and be assertive.”
The Raptors were able to make the plays when they counted and outscored the Bulls 22-21 in the fourth quarter to secure the win, which became more of a challenge against the 8-17 Bulls than they likely expected.
As has been the case all season, Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 22 points. Norman Powell, who has been solid off the bench, started for Fred VanVleet and finished with 17 points. Lowry finished with game with 11 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds.
The Raptors hope to have VanVleet back for tonight’s game. He is currently listed as questionable, but his presence and ability to score will definitely be needed as they take a step up in competition against the Clippers tonight.
Key Player Matchups
Kawhi Leonard vs. Pascal Siakam
OG Anunoby has been inconsistent for the Raptors this season, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doc Rivers defend him with Harkless while he asks his best defender, Leonard, to take on the Raptors’ best player in Siakam. Leonard and Siakam know each other well having been teammates last season. They are both athletic forwards that seem just as comfortable playing inside as they do outside. Siakam was limited to just 16 points last time they played the Clippers, and that was without Leonard, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does against his former teammate tonight.
Paul George vs. Fred Van Vleet
George has a huge height advantage over VanVleet if he plays tonight, and while this isn’t exactly boxing, that does come into effect on the defensive end. VanVleet has had a great season taking over as a starter this season, and he’s shooting the ball well from deep, but George is the superior player on both sides of the ball, and that remains true even if VanVleet is out and Norman Powell starts.
Without a doubt, former teammates Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam are the studs in tonight’s matchup. Leonard is available for $8.7k on FanDuel for a projection of 39.2 points. Siakam has a value of $8k and a projection of 36 points.
Lou Williams, available for $5.9k and projected for 28.8 points is a solid value pick up for tonight’s lineup.
Bet on Matchup
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