Monday, Feb 6, 2023

Raptors versus Hornets Tuesday January 10th 2023 - Pregame

The Toronto Raptors will take on the Charlotte Hornets to build momentum at Scotia Banke Arena!

Leaning into momentum, the Toronto Raptors view Tuesday's matchup against the Charlotte Hornets as an opportunity to shift the narrative. Sunday marked a 117-105 feel-good victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, which ended a three-game losing streak. Optimistic, they head in with confidence, while what they lack in knowing the future, they make up for with spirit and preparation.

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It's more than just a game but a chance to rewrite recent history and display their energized approach to offence, defence and team chemistry. No doubt, inspired by the feel-good win against Portland on Sunday, this is their glimpse at greatness once again. Progress awaits.

Fred VanVleet said it best when talking about building off their win, “You take it, man. Turn one into two, and turn two into three. Just try to build on this.” The Raptors are certainly making strides hoping to get hot in a hurry, but they know they must stay focused if they want positive results, especially against a tough Hornets squad. With the right attitude, the Raptors are advisedly heading in the right direction, just as Fred said, putting one foot in front of the other and getting better daily.

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It hasn't been an easy stretch for either team.

It's not been an easy stretch for either the Toronto Raptors or Charlotte Hornets as of late. The Raptors have won just four of their past 15 games, while the Hornets have won three of their past 10. Both teams will look to turn things around when they meet on Tuesday for the first time this season.

This first encounter between the two teams is highly consequential. Will the Raptors find a way to keep the good vibes of Sunday's win going? Or will the Hornets nail down a statement win on the road? Nonetheless, it'll undoubtedly be a fierce battle between two competitive squads in search of better days ahead.

Every play counts in this match-up, as the margin for error remains dangerously thin for either side looking to gain much-needed momentum. Whether trading baskets down the stretch or stifling opponents on defence, every moment feels critical for both teams - putting a premium on each possession.

Sunday's game was another close one for the Hornets, 116-111. Despite coming up short against the Pacers, Mason Plumlee noted a spark in his team's performance. The squad had a chance to grab the lead in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't quite enough.

As for the Hornets, though their recent comeback performances have been an improvement over past games, they hope to flip this around and finally start taking victories home with them.

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Aggressive defence and good bench play will be critical tonight!

Supremacy on the court was Toronto's goal, and they achieved it again Sunday. Last outing, the Raptors turned the Trail Blazers' 24 turnovers resulted in 29 points, and the reserves outscored their opponents 21-3. We saw what the Raptors could be!

Priority was given to commanding the ball and overwhelming opponents.

Dominate. The word of the night for the Raptors is to own it and outplay the competition. Effort, intensity, and focus were necessary to Sunday's victory against Portland and must be replicated across the next three games of their home stand.

Replicate, replicate, replicate. Raptors have learned from past mistakes; know what works and what doesn't work- repeat successes over failures within this streak. They cannot fall into the trap of reliving forgotten patterns; instead, they stick with a philosophy that wins. This starts by seizing commandment of the ball and having an aggressive presence on defence - grasp what is needed for victory and never let go until time expires in regulation or extra time if required.

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Containing LaMelo is a priority!

The challenge is set - a daunting one at that. The Toronto Raptors have to contain something rare - LaMelo Ball, who's been making a solid statement since his arrival in the NBA. A power-packed athlete with extraordinary passing and playmaking abilities, LaMelo was no ordinary player and shutting him down would require something special.

Impressively, LaMelo Ball has been consistently picking up assists at a high rate, with an average of 8.3 dishes per game which puts him fifth in the league. His last six games have seen a whopping nine or more assists from him each time. The Raptors allow 25.8 assists to opponents per game, ranking eighth among all NBA clubs, while they give up the fifth-most fast break points (15.4) in the league, according to stats.

Enter OG Anunoby, the steal leader of the NBA, who can swoop in like a dynamite stick and make sure the ball doesn't land anywhere near LaMelo's hand again.

No ordinary job, stopping LaMelo will take a team effort. The Toronto Raptors will have to lock him down with traps, double teams and airtight rotations and find ways to break his rhythm and disrupt Ball's playmaking ability.

The Toronto Raptors need this one to keep the good vibes going. Let's go, Raptors!