Game Preview: Raptors @ Warriors

Holly MacKenzie -

Toronto’s six-game road trip continues in Golden State where the Raptors will take on the Warriors in the second meeting between the teams this season. In the first meeting, the Warriors defeated the Raptors at the Air Canada Centre, 127-121 on Toronto’s annual Drake night.

Tip-off: 10:30 P.M. ET

Broadcast Info: SN1 / SN590


Patterson providing boost off bench

Ask five different people for the most important thing Patrick Patterson brings to the table and you could easily get five different answers. What each person would agree on though, is that things are generally better when Patterson is on the floor.

In Toronto’s 95-91 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, Patterson got off to a very slow start, struggling to score. He stuck with it, continued defending and worked the glass to secure extra possessions, and before long the same shots started falling. Patterson credited his teammates with helping him get on track in a game where he finished with 15 points on a career-high tying five made three-pointers in 11 attempts.

“Teammates just kept encouraging me to shoot the ball,” Patterson said. “With my teammates’ encouragement, with my coaching staff’s encouragement, just made me to want to keep shooting the ball over and over. When I finally started seeing it going in, I started feeling better.”

DeRozan closing in on scoring record

After scoring 20 points in Toronto’s victory against Portland, DeMar DeRozan is just 14 points away from tying Chris Bosh as the Raptors franchise leader in career scoring. DeRozan is already the franchise leader in games played, wins, and field goals made. He is averaging a team-high 27.5 points per contest and it won’t be long before he ties and then passes Bosh’s record.

Although the milestone is imminent, DeRozan’s focus is squarely on the next game and opponent in front of him. With Toronto’s last victory in Oracle Arena coming in 2003, he knows a win on the Warriors home floor won’t come easily.

“It’s always great going against a team like the Warriors,” DeRozan said. “It’s fun, especially in their building on the road. We look forward to games like that.”

Count DeRozan as one of the millions of people who spent Christmas Day tuning in to Cleveland’s victory against Golden State.

“It was a good game,” he said. “If you’re a basketball fan, I’m a basketball fan, it was a heck of a game to watch.”

Defence is the keyword

Prior to hitting the road, Dwane Casey and the rest of the Raptors talked about defence. They’ve been talking about it for much of the season, but with improved efforts in recent weeks, everyone was on the same page with respect to the six-game trip: the trip would be successful if the team decided to play defence.

“That’s been the motto of this road trip,” Terrence Ross said. “Defence is going to get us through regardless of whether we’re shooting high or low.”

In Portland, with their high-scoring offence stalling, it was a stellar defensive effort in the fourth quarter that allowed Toronto to survive shooting woes and save a hard-earned road win. Slowing the Warriors’ never-ending roster of scorers — Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and on and one — certainly won’t be an easy task, but it’s a necessary one if Toronto would like to stay undefeated on this current road trip.

“We’re trying to get back on track on the defensive side of the ball,” Patterson said. “Granted, we’re going to have off nights offensively, but as long as we hone in on the defensive end we should be fine.”