Game Preview- Raptors vs. Nuggets
Denver Nuggets (40-34) @ Toronto Raptors (54-20)
When: Tuesday, March 27th, 7:30 P.M ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: TSN, SN590
The Raptors dropped a 129-111 loss to the Nuggets on the road back in November, on the team's first west coast swing of the season. Denver got a jump on the Raptors from the opening whistle, leading 34-19 after the opening quarter and 60-46 at the half. The Nuggets blew things open completely in the third, outscoring the Raptors 43-25 in the quarter, to take a 103-71 advantage into the fourth. Norman Powell led Toronto in the loss, scoring 14 points, while Serge Ibaka added 11. Canadian Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 24 points while Emmanuel Mudiay added 16 points off the bench.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT'S GAME
Injury report: For the Raptors, the injury report is clear. For the Nuggets, Gary Harris (right knee sprain) and Tyler Lydon (left knee surgery) will be out.
Home court: Tuesday's game closes out a three-game homestand for Toronto. It is also the final regular season game against a Western Conference opponent. After Tuesday's game, the Raptors are on the road for a two-game stretch, with games against the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, ranked second and third in the Eastern Conference. The Nuggets come into Tuesday's game on a back-to-back, after falling 123-104 in Philadelphia on Monday.
Full 48: After a stretch of games where the Raptors have started out slow, Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers was a different story. Toronto immediately jumped out in front, leading by 18 in the early minutes of the game. After an even second quarter, the tide turned in the second half, with Toronto scoring just 20 points in the third quarter, before getting outscored 37-26 in the fourth. After the game, Toronto's 20th loss of the season, Dwane Casey said he was happy with the hot start, but that the team needs to sustain that effort throughout the full 48 minutes of the game.
FVV: Another game, another 16 points from Fred VanVleet. Toronto's reserve point guard has now scored 16 points in each of his last three games since returning from a wrist contusion that had him sidelined for a two-game stretch. VanVleet shot 6-for-9 in Sunday's loss, including 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. In his previous three games, VanVleet is shooting 53 percent from the floor and 55 percent from three. He has also scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games.
Siakam rolling: Another member of the bench mob coming up big recently has been Pascal Siakam. After 15 points in Sunday's game, (on 6-for-8 shooting), Siakam is averaging 10.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 23 minutes per game over his previous five games. What's most noticeable though, is his shooting touch from deep. In those five games, Siakam is shooting 56 percent from the floor while making 67 percent of his three-point attempts.
Practice time: After Tuesday's game against the Nuggets, the Raptors will have a rare three-day break in the schedule, with their next game on the schedule not happening until Saturday in Boston. The three-day off stretch will allow the team crucial practice time that is often limited at this point in the season.