Raptors at Bobcats game-day Dino-bytes
TORONTO (3-8) at CHARLOTTE (5-4)
Time Warner Cable Arena
TIPOFF: 7 p.m.
TV: Sportsnet; RADIO: FAN590
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Dom McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas; Charlotte: Kemba Walker, Jeffery Taylor, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Byron Mullens, Brendan Haywood.
Key backups tonight
Toronto: Kyle Lowry (if he doesn’t go back to the starting lineup), Amir Johnson (has to have a bigger impact than Tuesday); Charlotte: Ramon Sessions (has to provide offence), Bismack Biyombo (can change a game defensively).
First meeting of the season, Charlotte won two of three last season.
What happened this morning
A day off for Toronto
As is custom, Raptors didn’t have a game-day shootaround on a back-to-back but would meet sometime to go over Charlotte’s stuff.
Of course, that leaves us all wondering what they’ll do with Kyle Lowry; put him back in the starting lineup or give him another night off the bench after logging nearly 30 minutes Tuesday.
Best guess: Don’t really have one. Tune in when Dwane Casey does his pre-game chat about 5:45 p.m. and we’ll let you know. It’s @smithraps in a shameless Twitter plug.
They’re banged up, too
The main man in Charlotte, Rick Bonnell of the Observer, reports this morning that it looks like both Gerald Henderson (foot) and Ben Gordon (knee) won’t go and Tyrus Thomas (knee) was never expected to play.
Charlotte averages 14,620 fans a night (about 5,000 short of capacity) and game against a so-so drawing visiting team on the eve of American Thanksgiving isn’t likely to have ‘em lined up to buy tickets.
Plus, it was a glorious day in Charlotte, about 15C and cloudless skies, people will be tired from being out of doors all day.
This doesn’t bode well
Bobcats are 4-0 in games decided by four or fewer points and the Raptors aren’t the greatest close-game finishers in the history of professional basketball.
Speaking of Bonnell …
Esoteric stat of the day
It’s been mentioned that Charlotte didn’t win its fifth game last year until Game 36 but this 5-4 start ties the 2007-08 team for best nine-game start in franchise history.