The surprises keep on coming with the Raptors. Pre-game tonight, with everyone prepared for and expecting a return from Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s head coach Nick Nurse instead announced he’d be sitting out tonight. And what’s more, before we could even ask: Kawhi will be out tomorrow too. (The consolation prize: Leonard is booked to appear on Friday night against the Rockets in Houston.)
For tonight’s Kings vs. Raptors game, these pronouncements change the math considerably. Our preview this morning, now woefully out-of-date, harped on Toronto’s bench in the absence of OG Anunoby (still out tonight) and Jonas Valanciunas (still out for the foreseeable future). What we did not anticipate — for how could we? — was that Kawhi would still be managing the metaphorical load. (OK, it’s not metaphorical; as Nurse discussed before the game, it’s quite a leap to go from nine games in a season to a full 82 plus playoffs, plus hopefully Finals run.) Toronto will have the same team they had on Saturday night — except the Kings are not the Grizzlies.
In the meantime, Sacramento has updated their health situation too, with some questionable calls coming for central figures De’Aaron Fox and Nemanja Bjelica. In addition, the Kings have cutely decided to shutdown veteran Iman Shumpert for tonight’s game in Toronto citing — what else? — load management. [Update: The Kings have ruled this trio out.]
In basketball news, Kings say De'Aaron Fox, Nemanja Bjelica and Iman Shumpert are all out tonight. Rest, er, load management, and nagging injuries— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) January 22, 2019
We’ve got your full Raptors-Kings preview here (with Josh Kern and I joining forces) and the updated details for tonight’s game below.
Where to Watch:
TSN at 7pm EST
Toronto - Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Sacramento [Updated] - Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, Yogi Ferrell
Toronto - OG Anunoby (personal), Jonas Valanciunas (hand), Kawhi Leonard (load management)
Sacramento [Updated] - Nemanja Bjelica (lower back tightness - out), De’Aaron Fox (left big toe soreness - out), Iman Shumpert (out - load management; cheeky!)