Toronto will be desperate to get back to winning ways following what will be considered an embarrassing loss to NBA whipping-boys the Nets. It was important that they should gain the win on Tuesday night to keep confidence high heading into the next run of games, so defeat to the side that started the season with a record of 0-10 will be a huge thorn in their side as they host Miami Friday, the Nuggets Saturday before travelling to California for a fixture with Golden State on December 3.
Despite being 6-8, the Raptors lie top of the Atlantic Division and comfortably inside the Eastern Conference play-offs, but may struggle to hold their position during the next week’s run of games.
And Denver will pose major problems. A four-game winning streak has seen them record back-to back victories over Dallas, whilst a 117-110 result against the free-falling Timberwolves on Wednesday in their Northwest Division matchup has left them in a great position heading into weekend ties with the Knicks and Raptors.
The Raptors will be feeling threatened by a potent Nuggets attack. The side from Colorado failed to amass 100 points in only one of their last ten games. JJ Hickson picked up a season best of 22 on Monday night, whilst Guard Ty Lawson has been picking up 20’s all season including coming up trumps in big games with OKC and the Rockets.
Lawson’s big-game playing should come into play as they travel to Toronto on Saturday night, and he will be very much needed by the Western Conference side, as the side have held a tight ship in defence since the beginning of the season on October 30. Having only given away 100 points four times during their fourteen games, the Raptors seem to gather strength as the quarters draw out and were unlucky not to take Tuesday evening’s game after a late push by star-man DeMar DeRozan.
Denver will have to make sure they build their points early as the fourth has been Toronto’s in almost every game this season, keeping a strong defence and pushing a hard attack. This is in stark contrast to the Nuggets. Strong attacking finishes are met with a careless defence, which sets Saturday’s game up to be one that will go right down to the wire. Expect the winner to have a strong final quarter but with the Raptor’s qualities with their backs to the wall should see them get back to winning ways at the Air Canada Centre.