After an uneven start to the season, the Golden State Warriors finally started looking like the defending champions in a 133-103 thrashing of the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. The Warriors will try to maintain that level of play when they host the host the Toronto Raptors in the opener of a three-game homestand on Wednesday.
Golden State dropped two of its first three games and was struggling on the defensive end before holding the Mavericks to 39.6 percent shooting in Monday’s win. The Warriors, who led the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage last season, allowed their first three opponents to shoot a combined 47.1 percent from the floor but locked down in the second half in Dallas, when they limited the Mavericks to 41 points while running away with the win. The Raptors promise to be a much tougher team to guard and began their six-game road trip with a 101-97 loss at San Antonio on Monday. Toronto is restructuring its offense a bit this season to encourage more shooting and ball movement, and it struggled to 10-of-37 from 3-point range against the Spurs.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Sportsnet One (Toronto), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (2-1): Toronto averaged 122.5 points in winning its first two games but struggled from the field against the Spurs and was quick to point the finger at itself. “I wouldn’t say they took anything away from us,” Raptors star guard DeMar DeRozan, who led the way with 28 points on 10-of-20 shooting in the loss, told reporters. “We moved the ball, but we just missed a lot of shots. I missed a lot of shots that I normally get to my spot and make.” DeRozan is averaging 29 points in the last two games but sat out practice on Tuesday and is day-to-day due to a left thigh bruise suffered on Monday.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (2-2): Golden State was up by enough late in the game on Monday that rookie Jordan Bell felt comfortable tossing the ball off the backboard to himself for an alley-opp on a breakaway, leading to some consternation from the Dallas players and fans. “It caught me off guard,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters of the move. “He’s just having fun out there. The main thing he needs to understand is that’s going to offend some people.” Bell is squeezing his way into some minutes as a backup in the frontcourt and is 9-of-10 from the floor in the first four games.
1. Curry is 39-of-39 from the free-throw line.
2. Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas (ankle) was held out of Monday’s game and is questionable for Wednesday.
3. Golden State took each of the last six meetings while averaging 119 points.
PREDICTION: Warriors 121, Raptors 112