Game Preview: Raptors at Mavericks

Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (23-8) @ Dallas Mavericks (9-25)

When: Tuesday, December 26, 7 P.M. ET

Where: American Airlines Centre

Broadcast info: SN1, SN590

Last meeting: 

The last time Toronto faced the Dallas, the Raptors earned a 94-86 road win. In late March of last season, DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka each scored 18 points to defeat the Mavs and clinch a playoff spot. Toronto got off to a quick start in the game, led 30-22 after the opening quarter and never trailed, leading by as many as 16 points in the first half and 15 in the fourth quarter. Though the Mavericks would use a late run to get into the game, they couldn’t complete the comeback, despite 23 points from Harrison Barnes to lead the team in the loss.

Leading into tonight’s game: 

Injury report: For the Raptors, the availability of Lucas Nogueira (right calf injury) and C.J. Miles (dental procedure) is listed as to be decided. For the Mavericks, Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia), Dorian Finney-Smith (knee tendinitis), Josh McRoberts (lower extremity injury) and Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) are out.

Back-to-back: The team will meet in Dallas following a two-day break for the Christmas holiday to face the Mavericks. Tuesday’s game will kick off a road bac-to-back. After facing Dallas, the team will immediately head to Oklahoma City to prepare for the Thunder on Wednesday. 

DeMar from three: DeMar DeRozan has made at least three three-pointers in Toronto’s previous three victories for the first time in his career. His 13 three-pointers over the previous three games came on 65 percent shooting. In the 28 games that came before this stretch,  he had made 17 three-pointers combined. Prior to his 29-point performance against the Sixers on Dec. 23, DeRozan scored a career-high 45 points against the Sixers on the road in Philadelphia, and is averaging 34.4 points over his previous 10 games.

Extra assists:

Streaking with ease: The Raptors come into Tuesday’s game winners of six straight and 12 of their last 13 games. Against the Western Conference, Toronto is 11-4 this season, including 8-4 on the road. In last year’s series sweep against Dallas, DeMar DeRozan averaged a team-high 21.5 points. This season, DeRozan is averaging 24.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per contest. Dallas comes into the game hoping to get back on the right track, after going 2-8 over their last 10 games.

Ibaka rising: Serge Ibaka scored 17 points in Toronto’s victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 23. This was his 10th consecutive game scoring double figures. In the month of December, Ibaka is averaging 18.4 points on 56 percent shooting from the floor, including 53 percent shooting from beyond the arc. On the defensive end of the floor, Ibaka is also getting it done, averaging 1.6 blocks over his previous 19 games. When Ibaka scores 20+ points, the Raptors are 5-0 this season.

Familiar faces: Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is very familiar with the Mavericks, coming to Toronto from Dallas where he was an assistant coach with Rick Carlisle from 2008-11. Casey won a championship with the Mavericks in 2011 before being hired by the Raptors. The game will be a homecoming for Raptors forward C.J. Miles who is from Dallas and attended Skyline High School, while Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell and Raptors rookie OG Anunoby were teammates at Indiana University.