Game Preview: Raptors vs Suns
Toronto Raptors (7-1) @ Phoenix Suns (1-6)
When: Friday, November. 2nd, 10 P.M. ET
Where: Talking Stick Resort Arena
Leading into tonight:
Injury Report: For the Raptors, Fred VanVleet is listed as questionable with a left big toe sprain. VanVleet has missed the previous four games with this injury. For the Suns, Isaiah Canaan (left ankle strain) and Devin Booker (left hamstring strain) are both listed as questionable. Booker has missed the team’s last three games, while Canaan has missed the team’s last game against the San Antonio Spurs.
Road team: After playing six of the first eight games of the season at Scotiabank Arena, Friday’s contest marks the beginning of Toronto’s first extended road trip of the season. With a stop in Phoenix to kick the trip off, the team will then go to Los Angeles to play the Lakers, Utah to take on the Jazz (in a back-to-back), and then finish out the trip in Sacramento against the Kings. Toronto will not return to its home floor until Nov. 10 against the New York Knicks. This will be the first of three four-game road trips the team will have before Christmas.
Hot start: The Raptors set a franchise record for best start in franchise history with a victory over the Dallas Mavericks that moved the team to 6-0. Though a shorthanded Raptors team suffered its lone loss of the season in Milwaukee, the team bounced back in a back-to-back against Philadelphia to move to 7-1 on the season. This is the best start in franchise history through eight games with Friday’s match up against the Suns providing an opportunity to move to 8-2 and tie the best start in franchise history through 10 games, accomplished during the 2014-15 season.
Dishing dimes: Kyle Lowry had another double-double in Toronto’s 129-112 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, finishing with 20 points and 12 assists. He has now posted double-digit assist totals in six straight games. This is a career-high for Lowry and one game off the franchise record of seven consecutive games set by Damon Stoudamire during the 1995-96 season. Lowry is also leading the NBA in assists with 11.1 per contest. Lowry has already set one franchise record this season, passing Doug Christie to become the franchise leader in career steals.
Siakam soaring: Kyle Lowry wasn’t the only Raptors starter with a double-double in Wednesday’s victory against the Sixers. One night after scoring a career-high 22 points in Milwaukee, Pascal Siakam had a 15-point, 15-rebound double-double. This was a career-high for rebounds as well as Siakam’s second career double-double. The Raptors were a +24 when he was on the floor. “I’m going to try to figure it out, see what I can do and find the things I can do to help our group play better,” Siakam said. Kyle Lowry had high praise for the effort Siakam brings each night. “He means everything to us,” Lowry said. “He’s unbelievable, honestly, the things he’s doing and the things he can do on that basketball floor. He plays with energy, the skill work. I give him all the credit because he just continues to get better and he’s still young.”
Leading the way: Kawhi Leonard had another 30-point performance against the Sixers, finishing with 31 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals on Wednesday. He scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting in the third as the Raptors built a 105-86 lead heading into the fourth, He then extinguished the Sixers’ comeback hopes in the fourth as he defended, scored and assisted his way into leading the Raptors to victory. Leonard is leading the Raptors in scoring with 27.3 points per game this season.