Warriors at Raptors
The Toronto Raptors are enjoying the best first half in franchise history but face a stern task when they host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday. Toronto (29-11) already has surpassed its highest total of wins at the midway point (28-13 last season) and looks to upend a Golden State squad that won its 11th straight road game on Friday.
The Warriors have captured six of their last seven overall contests after posting a 108-94 victory at Milwaukee, and they locked down on defense by holding the Bucks to 12 points on 5-of-20 shooting in the fourth quarter. "The last five or six games, our defense has not been where we want it to be," Golden State forward Kevin Durant told reporters after Friday's win. "It's hard to do it every night, but we have to dig down deep and do it." The Warriors hope to have Stephen Curry back after a two-game absence as they tackle a Toronto club that has won six of its last seven games and steamrolled Cleveland 133-99 on Thursday. The Raptors have scored 125 or more points a franchise-record nine times and are a stellar 15-2 at home as they attempt to end a seven-game slide versus the Warriors.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Bay Area (Golden State), TSN (Toronto)
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (34-9): Klay Thompson is in a funk and failed to make a 3-pointer against the Bucks, ending his streak of 95 straight games with at least one. Thompson's run was the longest active one in the NBA, but his two errant 3-point attempts on Friday are part of a three-game stretch during which he is averaging just 13.7 points on 16-of-44 shooting. The Warriors held Thompson out of the lineup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday for rest upon the suggestion of the team's training staff, but he scored just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting versus Milwaukee.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (29-11): With Kyle Lowry (back) unlikely to play for a third straight game, another opportunity arises for backup Fred VanVleet, who established career highs of 22 points and six 3-pointers in the beatdown of the Cavaliers. VanVleet and his fellow reserves combined for 76 points as Toronto ran Cleveland's veterans off the floor. "I think that was one of our advantages, especially the second unit, was playing it fast when we were able to get stops," VanVleet told reporters. "Some of those 3s go down and the lead gets bigger and bigger. One of our advantages is our youth and our speed and our fresh legs. We've got to take advantage of that."
1. Curry scored 30 points and Durant added 29 as the Warriors posted a 117-112 home win over the Raptors on Oct. 25.
2. Durant is averaging 33 points on 26-of-38 shooting over his last two games after sitting out the previous three with a calf injury.
3. Toronto PF Serge Ibaka returns after a one-game suspension for exchanging punches with Miami F James Johnson earlier this week.