The Toronto Raptors are currently one of the hottest teams in the league, and the Dallas Mavericks have the tall task of trying to rain on their parade Friday.
Are the Raptors for real this season? They sure seem to be, boasting the best record in the Eastern Conference and a 10-game win streak. Friday night, the Dallas Mavericks will try to disrupt them, as the two teams face-off in Toronto at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Interestingly enough, in their previous meeting on Dec. 26, Toronto came in with the best winning percentage in the East (23-8) and riding their second six-game win streak of the young season. Dallas–Wes Matthews specifically–held DeMar DeRozan (eight points) and the Raptors (30-89) to season lows in shooting percentage en route to a 98-93 victory.
Since then, the Raptors have gotten even better and the Mavericks have been hovering around the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
At this current juncture, it’s logical for Dallas to wave the white flag and concede games like this. After all, the upcoming draft class is loaded with talent that can swing the pendulum for the Rick Carlisle led team. However, these are the games Dallas gets up for and there’s plenty of fight left in the tank (no pun intended).
What to Look For
Look for Dallas to come out strong, understanding their opponent has found its groove. Also, this is the second night of a back-to-back for Toronto, so Dallas can take advantage of that as well.
Unfortunately for Dallas, Wes Matthews is out for the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in his right leg. That means coach Carlisle will have to find another way to slow down the red-hot DeRozan. The All-Star swingman is having an incredible season, averaging 23.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
Be sure to follow The Smoking Cuban on Twitter at @thesmokingcuban, for live score updates and highlights. As always. go Mavs!