The Golden State Warriors will be looking to close a five-game trip with a fourth straight win as they encounter a surprisingly rested team Saturday night when they visit the Toronto Raptors.
Golden State will be seeking its second back-to-back sweep on the road this week, having already won at Indiana and New York on consecutive nights after a trip-opening defeat at Philadelphia last Saturday.
The Warriors opened its second back-to-back with a hard-fought, 111-107 win at Boston on Friday, giving Steve Kerr his 400th career win one game after Stephen Curry stole the spotlight on his record-setting 3-point night in New York.
“Very satisfied,” Kerr assured after the win. “Helluva win guaranteeing us at least three wins (on the trip). That makes this a great trip and (the Toronto game) is a little more of a free swing.”
Exactly which Warriors will be swinging was left unannounced after veterans Andrew Wiggins (36 minutes), Stephen Curry (35) and Andre Iguodala (24) all went over their season averages in minutes against the Celtics.
Iguodala, who contributed 12 points, six assists, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks to the win, hasn’t played both ends of a back-to-back all season. Meanwhile, Curry and Draymond Green, who went 31 minutes in Boston, were given a night off the last time the Warriors had a back-to-back at the end of an Eastern swing, that occurring last month at Detroit.
As they await the return of Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, the Warriors also will be without Jordan Poole for the trip finale after he entered COVID protocols on Friday.
The Raptors know all about the restrictions of the latter, as they had a scheduled game against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday postponed because of a heavy toll COVID has taken on the Chicago roster.
Toronto not only benefitted from an extra two days off, but in the meantime has gotten Precious Achiuwa back from COVID protocols.
With OG Anunoby likely to return from a hip injury, it’s possible the Raptors will take the court Saturday with a fully healthy roster for the first time this season.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse hopes his team’s COVID issues are behind them.
“We’re doing a lot more, protocol-wise,” he insisted. “We’re really trying to be as proactive as possible. We’ve just gone back to almost as stringent as we can be. I guess that’s all I can say.”
The Raptors were without Anunoby when they faced the Warriors in San Francisco last month in their fourth road game in seven days. They managed to hold Curry to 12 points, including just 1-for-6 on 3-pointers, but wound up on the short end of a 119-104 decision after watching Poole go for 33 points and Wiggins 32.
The Canada visit for Wiggins will be his first since the Toronto native became the first Canadian to reach 10,000 NBA career points last April.
Three weeks earlier, he added 15 points to his total when the Warriors were blown out 130-77 in their only trip to Toronto last season.
This time around, the Raptors will take the court having won four of their last six despite taking a 131-129 overtime loss at Brooklyn in their most recent action on Tuesday.
–Field Level Media