Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers Preview
It’s reunion week for the defending champion Toronto Raptors, first visiting former guard Danny Green and the Lakers yesterday. Today, they have a matchup against Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers. They handed the Lakers their second loss last night, and they’ll hope to get their second win in LA on this reunion trip.
The Raptors have been on an impressive start to the season. They are 7-2 on the season, have won three consecutive games and are second in the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers started off hot, but have cooled off a bit lately. They are 6-3 on the season, are sixth in the Western Conference and are coming off a win.
The last time the Clippers and Raptors met, it was last season, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leading the Clippers, but Kawhi Leonard getting the win for the Raptors. Now, Gilgeous-Alexander is in Oklahoma City and Leonard is in Los Angeles.
Time: 10 PM ET
Arena: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Channel: NBA TV
Raptors: Kyle Lowry, Patrick McCaw(O), Serge Ibaka (DTD)
Clippers: Paul George (O)
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
It’s been no Leonard, no problem thus far for the Los Angeles Clippers. Pascal Siakam, who signed a max contract prior to the season, has been earning every bit of it
In last night’s 113-104 win over LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers, Siakam had 24 points and 11 rebounds. But Siakam was hardly alone in the game as several other players played big roles especially with some key losses, something head coach Nick Nurse spoke to after the game.
“Serge is playing better than he’s ever played in his life, and Kyle was right there, too,” Nurse told reporters. “They’re huge losses. We just got to — like everybody that goes through (injuries), you throw some new guys in there and, I don’t know, I’m excited to see some of these guys.”
Fred VanVleet, who has played well in a new role as a starter, finished with 23 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds last night. Normall Powell, who was inserted into the starting lineup, had 14 points, and three members of the second unit, Chris Boucher, Terence Davis and Rondae-Hollis Jefferson also finished in double figures for the Raptors.
It’ll be a quick turnover for the Raptors tonight with no rest between games, but staying in Los Angeles and playing in the same arena should help with some of the issues they will be facing tonight.
LA Clippers Starting Lineup
The Clippers lost their third game of the season last Wednesday against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks 129-124 with Kawhi Leonard sitting out in the first game of a back-to-back. A lot was made of his choice to sit out in a National TV game against the top Eastern Conference team and he receieved a lot of scrutiny from media and fans alike for that choice.
With Leonard back in action the next night against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers took the win 105-94 as Leonard finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds. Lou Williams also had a big night off the bench with 26 points and eight assists.
Leonard is now looking forward to seeing his former teammates and competing against them tonight.
“It’s going to be fun to see the guys and just congratulate them and be able to shake hands and compete,” Leonard said. “The guys, the journey, also the country. The city was amazing. And it’s just so much, you can keep going on and talking about it.”
Leonard will have to be his usual self along with the help of the rest of the Clippers to keep the Raptors from leaving Los Angeles with two wins on a back-to-back against former teammates.
Key Player Matchups
Pascal Siakam vs. Patrick Patterson
Siakam obviously has a big edge in this matchup. Siakam is just very skilled inside and outside so it’ll be a tough night of work for Patterson. It will be interesting to see if Doc Rivers elects to try and defend Siakam with his old running mate Kawhi Leonard since Leonard knows him better than anyone else on the Clippers roster.
Kawhi Leonard vs. OG Anunoby
This was a matchup that likely played out hundreds of times in Raptors practices last season as Leonard was the starting small forward and Anunoby was his backup. With Anunoby being thrust into the starting lineup, he’s delivered in his new role, scoring in double figures. But Kawhi is Kawhi and he’s been dominant this season, so I fully expect that the master will remain the master tonight.
Without a doubt, former teammates Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam are the studs in tonight’s matchup. Leonard is available for $9.4k on FanDuel for a projection of 50.47 points. Siakam has a value of $8.7k and a projection of 40.94 points.
Lou Williams, available for $7.1k and Fred VanVleet can be had for $6.9k. Williams is projected for 39.12 points while VanVleet is slated for 33.12.
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