By: Josh WeinsteibBy: Josh Weinstei
Purchase your tickets here for tonight's Pitch Talks at the Barrie Country Club from 7 to 10 PM ET. Stephen Brunt, Mike Wilner, and Jeff Blair are some of the journalists that will be there. The question is: Will you be there too?
The Toronto Raptors (14-7) get set to play their first game in over three days when they welcome the lowly Phoenix Suns (9-16) to Air Canada Centre.
Now, despite their record, the Suns still have a few weapons the Raptors have to worry about, most notably Devin Booker. The former Kentucky Wildcat standout has been ridiculous over his past two games. He scored 38 against the Boston Celtics, then followed that up with 46 last night against the Philadelphia 76ers. Booker is going to be a handful for whoever guards him – most likely OG Anunoby – given his incredible scoring ability from anywhere on the floor.
The Suns may have a couple of reliable scorers in Booker and swingman T.J. Warren, but what they lack is a consistent and capable defence. In fact, they allow 115.2 points per game – the highest total in the Association – and are third-last in the league with a 109.3 defensive rating. Considering the Suns are entering tonight’s tilt on the second night of a back-to-back, expect the well-rested Raptors to put on an offensive showcase.
What the Raptors can’t afford to do is overlook the Suns. While they may have a sizeable advantage on paper, Dwane Casey’s squad has experienced lapses in focus against inferior teams within the past few weeks, allowing opponents to get whatever they want offensively for quarters at a time. That’s an issue the club can’t afford to let linger any longer.
The regular season is all about fixing reoccurring issues so that by playoff time, your team’s best product is on the floor when games matter most. A lack of focus for a full 48 minutes is the issue in question at this juncture of the season, and one the Raptors fully intend to fix well before the postseason arrives.
Tip-off is set for 7:30 PM ET.
Projected starting lineups:
- PG Kyle Lowry
- SG DeMar DeRozan
- SF OG Anunoby
- PF Serge Ibaka
- C Jonas Valanciunas
- PG Tyler Ulis
- SG Devin Booker
- SF T.J. Warren
- PF Marquese Chriss
- C Tyson Chandler