Four-Pointer: Previewing the Toronto Raptors

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

After moving Rudy Gay in December, the Raptors may have stumbled into a winning formula.

What have the Raptors (20-20) done lately?

Toronto comes into tonight's game on a two-game losing streak, after blowing winnable games against the Lakers and the Bobcats. Before this recent stumble, they had been one of the hottest teams in the NBA, with a 14-6 record since trading Rudy Gay to the Kings. Moving Gay was addition by subtraction, since his ball-stopping antics had prevented DeMar DeRozan, Terrence Ross and Kyle Lowry from getting going, as well as addition by addition, since they turned him into an excellent three-man bench -- Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and Johnny Salmons.

What happened the first time they played the Mavs?

The Raptors were in Dallas a little over a week after the Gay deal, pulling out an 109-108 thriller in OT. All five of their starters had at least 15 points, as they pretty much were able to get whatever they wanted against the Mavs defense. The good news is that the reverse held true as well, with Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon and Monta Ellis combining to score 66 points. If there's a concern offensively, it was the play of Dejuan Blair, who struggled against the length and athleticism of the Toronto front-line, with only 4 points and 4 rebounds in 21 minutes.

What's the biggest match-up to watch?

For Dallas, the concern always begins in the middle, especially when they are going up against a front-line with as much size and athleticism as the Raptors. Jonas Valanciunas (6'11 230) and Amir Johnson (6'9 210) aren't the most skilled duo in the world, but they are big and athletic bodies who can bang on the glass and get out and run. If Sam Dalembert is out, the Mavs will need a team effort to keep the Raptors big men in check. Their best hope might be to get them in foul trouble, since the Dallas big men match-up better with guys like Patterson, Chuck Hayes and Tyler "Psycho T" Hansbrough.

Which Maverick player might be due for a big game?

Brandan Wright had a very strong performance against them in December, with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks in 26 minutes of action. As we discussed earlier, the Raptors second-unit doesn't have much athleticism upfront, with Hayes, Hansbrough and Patterson all undersized and floor-bound. If Wright plays with enough energy, he should be able to run and jump his way into another 13-6 performance, at a minimum.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Mavs Moneyball

You must be a member of Mavs Moneyball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mavs Moneyball. You should read them.

Join Mavs Moneyball

You must be a member of Mavs Moneyball to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Mavs Moneyball. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker