The Raptors are on a two-game win streak and if you cast that against their woeful start to the season, you’d think the mood would be good.
Unfortunately, context matters. The Raptors did get a pair of wins over the Charlotte Hornets, but it came through fits. In the first game, a zone defence bamboozled Toronto and allowed the Hornets to keep it close. In their last game, the Hornets were within one shot of same late game heroics — a la Jeremy Lamb — and stealing a win.
Two wins are two wins, though, even if the Raptors aren’t inspiring a huge amount of confidence here at the mid-point of January. At 4-8, they’re right in the thick of a competitive (and hard-to-predict) Eastern Conference. I guess that’s all we can ask for.
Tonight, the Raptors will look to make it three straight against the Mavericks, who are one of those teams stricken by the NBA’s outbreak of coronavirus cases. Five Mavs are out of tonight’s game due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, all of whom are critical rotation pieces to Rick Carlisle. Thankfully for them, they get Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. back into their starting lineup — the latter was questionable coming in with a groin injury.
Josh Richardson is back in Dallas, per coach Rick Carlisle. Still no timetable on when he’ll be available to play. Tim Hardaway is available, also.
— Eddie Sefko (@ESefko) January 18, 2021
As for Toronto’s pre-game updates, just one of note and it’s not positive. Patrick McCaw continues to rehab from knee surgery and Nick Nurse isn’t anticipating him being back anytime soon.
Nick Nurse said Patrick McCaw isn’t making much progress and there’s no update there. He’s basically been week-to-week since camp started following late-season knee surgery.
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 18, 2021
With that, be sure to check out Dylan Litman’s preview from this morning and… let’s watch.
Where to Watch
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Aron Baynes
Dallas — Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr., Wes Iwundu, Kristaps Porzingis, Willie Cauley-Stein
Toronto — Alex Len (out – personal), Patrick McCaw (out – knee)
Dallas — Jalen Brunson (out – COVID-19 protocols), Josh Richardson (out – COVID-19 protocols), Dwight Powell (out – COVID-19 protocols), Maxi Klieber (out – COVID-19 protocols), Dorian Finney-Smith (out – COVID-19 protocols)