Game Preview: Raptors vs. Pelicans
New Orleans Pelicans (6-5) @ Toronto Raptors (6-4)
When: Thursday, November 9th, 7:30 P.M. ET
Where: Air Canada Centre
Broadcast info: SN1, TSN1050
The Raptors recorded a 94-87 road win in their last meeting with the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Jonas Valanciunas led the way with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 14 and Serge Ibaka added 12 points as the Raptors pulled away late. New Orleans forward Anthony Davis left the game shortly before halftime with a left wrist injury and didn't return. The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry who was rehabbing from wrist surgery.
LEADING INTO TONIGHT
Hot from outside: Toronto was on fire in Tuesday's game against the Bulls. The Raptors matched a season-high with 13 three-pointers as the starting five shot 7-for-14 from deep. The team has made at least 10 three-pointers six times this season.
Bounce back, build up: The Raptors followed up a disappointing home loss to the Washington Wizards with a victory against the Bulls, but will aim to build on that victory on Thursday. After returning home from a six-game road trip, Thursday's game closes out a three-game home stretch before the team heads back out on the road for a three-game trip.
Injury report: While Toronto's injury list is empty, the Pelicans is as follows: Alexis Ajinca (right knee), Omer Asik (illness), Solomon Hill (left hamstring), Frank Johnson (right foot fracture) and Rajon Rondo (left core muscle injury).
Recent history: The Raptors have won four straight games against the Pelicans, but New Orleans' point guard Jrue Holiday had success against Toronto last season. Holiday averaged 18.5 points and 4.5 assists in two meetings with the Raptors while Anthony Davis averaged 12.5 points and 10.5 rebounds. DeMarcus Cousins has a long history of big games against the Raptors, including averaging 22.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 blocks against the team in two meetings last season.
Closing it out: The Raptors were ahead against the Bulls for nearly the entire game, leading by as many as 23 points. Despite having complete control of the game after three quarters, Toronto allowed Chicago to come back in the fourth, as the Bulls outscored the Raptors 38-17 in the quarter. It was the opposite finish that Dwane Casey wanted to see. Before the team heads out on the road, Toronto's head coach would like to see a solid 48-minute effort from his team.
Valanciunas back: Jonas Valanciunas will have his hands full with the Davis/Cousins Pelicans frontline, but he had a fantastic night against the Bulls, leading Toronto with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He also hit his first three-pointer of the season as he continues returning to form following a four-game absence with an ankle sprain on the team's road trip.