The NBA’s first night of regular-season action will commence from the 23rd of October, 2019. The New Orleans Pelicans will be opening the season against defending champions Toronto Raptors at the Scotiabank Arena. The Raptors will now become the first team since the 2000-01 Lakers to open the season on the road.
This has all the ingredients for a challenging and entertaining contest – just what the league needs right at the start of a new season. Defending champions Toronto Raptors have won 3 and lost 2 of their last 5 games. Meanwhile, the Pelicans have not been in great form of late – losing 4 and winning only 1 out of their last 5 games.
It will hence be a dogfight between two robust teams with the Raptors holding the edge. They had a magical season last year where Kawhi Leonard starred for them to win them the NBA title for the first time in the league’s history. However, the Raptors this time will be without the services of Kawhi Leonard in their roster who they lost to Los Angeles. The Raptors also lost Danny Green to the Lakers and it will be interesting to see how the team copes with these notable absences.Embed from Getty Images
However, veterans like Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol will lend their experience to the Raptors. They also have OG Anunoby, Patrick-McCaw and Kyle-Lowry who might do the star turn in this game. In fact, Anunoby is likely to have a potential breakout year given the form he is in. The Pelicans will certainly have to be wary of his skills. Furthermore, with the support of All-Star player Pascal Siakam, the Raptors have once again a team to beat.
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans too will be without a star player in this season – Anthony Davis. But that exclusion has been filled with debut of Zion Williamson. The 19-year-old sensation is an exciting addition to the Pelicans’ lineup and would be eager to stamp his authority in his very first game.
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart are some of the other young and exciting talents to watch out for the Pelicans in this game. Derrick Favors will not just be playing a huge role in this game but might be detrimental in the team’s chances for the playoffs. The 26-year-old Favors will be the Pelicans’ starting center and his All-Star capabilities will come in handy in tackling the champion Raptors side.
This will hence be an interesting match-up – the veterans of the Raptors against the exciting young guns of the Pelicans.
Match Prediction – Toronto Raptors v New Orleans Pelicans:
Defending champions Toronto Raptors have enjoyed an overwhelming history against the New Orleans Pelicans. In the NBA Regular Season, the two teams have squared of 37 times with the Raptors winning 23 games and the Pelicans winning only 14. The Raptors hence have a winning percentage of .622 against the Pelicans.
In the opening night match between Toronto Raptors and New Orleans Pelicans on the 23rd of October, the Raptors look to be the favorites. They are the defending champions, have good recent form and have a core of experienced star performers. The Pelicans have a very good side too with some exciting young talents in the ranks. However, their form leading up to this game has been quite poor. Furthermore, their weak record against the Raptors will also come into play. Thus, the Toronto Raptors, despite losing star players like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, should be able to clinch this game and continue their dominance over the New Orleans Pelicans.
The total number of points scored in the game should be in the range of 225.