By: Josh Weinstein

The next Hoop Talks live event is TOMORROWBe sure to purchase tickets to attend here. Look forward to seeing you at The Rivoli on Thursday, November 16, 2017.

Last time the Raptors (8-5) and Pelicans (8-6) met, Toronto successfully contained DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis on the way to a hard-fought win. On Wednesday night (8:00 PM ET), New Orleans gets its chance to enact revenge at Smoothie King Center and even the season series with Toronto at one game apiece.

With Cousins and Davis neutralized, for the most part, Jrue Holiday was on fire against the Raptors on November 9, finishing with a season-high 34 points and 11 helpers. Holiday’s performance was likely an outlier and he likely won’t burn the Raptors again, especially if OG Anunoby is tasked with guarding him. Anunoby guarded Holiday for the entire fourth quarter last week, limiting him to just two points.

The Raps are coming off arguably their most impressive win of the season in Houston, a game that saw Anunoby, C.J. Miles, and Delon Wright each have their best games of 2017. Miles hit six of his nine three-point attempts, Wright knocked down all five of his field goals, while Anunoby finished with 16 points and played stellar defence on James Harden all night long.

After a performance like that, you’d have to figure Dwane Casey will look to shrink his rotation going forward to allow for his team, particularly the bench unit, to gain more chemistry together. Currently, Casey alternates between 12 different players on any given night. Expect the rotation size to decrease to 10 within the next few games. With Jakob Poeltl solidifying his backup centre role with each passing game, expect Lucas Nogueira to be one of the Raps that lose out on playing time. Fred VanVleet has played well in spurts, but there simply aren't enough minutes to go around that would warrant his inclusion in the rotation long-term.

Kyle Lowry has been trending in the right direction on the offensive end in his last four contests. He's averaging just over 18 points per game and 7.5 assists during that span, showing signs of breaking out. After a lengthy adjustment period, Lowry appears to finally getting comfortable with his new role in the offence.

Projected starting lineups:

Toronto Raptors

  • PG Kyle Lowry
  • SG DeMar DeRozan
  • SF OG Anunoby
  • PF Serge Ibaka
  • C Jonas Valanciunas

New Orleans Pelicans

  • PG Jrue Holiday
  • SG E'Twaun Moore
  • SF Dante Cunningham
  • PF Anthony Davis
  • C DeMarcus Cousins