New Orleans Pelicans vs Toronto Raptors: Match preview and prediction - 22nd October 2019
Date and time: Tuesday, 22 October 2019, 8:00 PM (ET)
Venue: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Last game result
New Orleans Pelicans: 117-116 win over the New York Knicks (pre-season)
Toronto Raptors: 123-107 win over the Brooklyn Nets (pre-season)
Entering the summer, the New Orleans Pelicans looked well on course for a long-term rebuild. But the franchise got a huge stroke of luck when they landed Zion Williamson in the NBA Draft.
The Pelicans also managed to get Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade with the Lakers, and they now enter the season as one of the NBA's most exciting teams.
The Raptors meanwhile enter the new season as champions, although their worst fears came true as they lost Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Danny Green also left for the Lakers, although the Raptors have since bounced back by signing Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam to new deals.
While another title triumph may be difficult, a mixture of youth and experience should be enough to keep the Raptors competitive in the East.
Both the Pelicans and Raptors will be keen to start their campaigns with an opening night win, although New Orleans will be without Williamson for at least the first few weeks of the new season. Nevertheless, the ex-Lakers trio of Ball, Ingram and Hart have adapted well to life in New Orleans, and the Pelicans will be no pushovers.
Pelicans - Lonzo Ball
Lonzo Ball was declared as the future of the Lakers upon being drafted second overall in 2017, but his career never took off in Los Angeles. Ball will play a much bigger role in New Orleans, and the 21-year-old will be especially important over the next few weeks with Williamson out of action.
Ball could dish out double-figure assists against the Raptors, and the game could rest on his shooting form.
Raptors - Pascal Siakam
With Lowry aging, there is no doubt that Siakam is the future of the Raptors. The 25-year-old was excellent during the 2019 post-season as he averaged 19 points and 7.1 rebounds over 24 appearances, and he is primed for an even bigger role following the departure of Leonard.
Buoyed by his new max-contract extension, expect the Cameroonian to enjoy a huge offensive night as he leads the game in scoring.
Predicted starting lineups
New Orleans Pelicans: Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors
Toronto Raptors: Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Pelicans vs Raptors match prediction
The Raptors enter the game as defending champions, but few are counting them among the challengers for this season's title. Due to this, Toronto will be out to send a message to the NBA against a young Pelicans team.
The Raptors are difficult to beat on their own court. While Ball and Ingram could enjoy big nights for the Pelicans, Toronto appear too strong and should come away with the win.
Where to watch Pelicans vs Raptors?
The game will be broadcast nationwide on TNT from 8 PM (ET). You can also live stream the game via NBA League Pass.Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:49 IST