If this five-game Western Conference road trip was supposed to do anything for the Raptors, it was provide a reality check after a hot start to the season. Instead, what it’s been is a check for bodies at the end of the bench. Injuries are piling up for Toronto as they arrive in Portland to face the Blazers tonight, as they dig further into the available players on their roster.
To sum it up, Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka left the New Orleans game at the start of the road trip with a thumb and ankle injury, respectively. Patrick McCaw is already lost for weeks because of knee surgery. Now, OG Anunoby is suffering from a right eye contusion, one that will at least keep him out tonight before a possible Saturday return.
Nurse: OG was "Close" for this game. But just not ready for tonight. Says he expects him to play Saturday in Dallas— Eric Smith (@Eric__Smith) November 14, 2019
The next man up mentality has worked okay for the Raptors. After a riveting win over the Lakers on Sunday, the depth energy weaned on Monday against the Clippers, though that was also the result of a quick back-to-back against two of the league’s best defensive teams. With a day of breathing room, Toronto faces Portland tonight with Malcolm Miller the latest entry into the starting lineup, as they face a team with issues of their own.
The Blazers are a surprising 4-7 to start the season, losing four of their last five and needing overtime to salvage a win over Atlanta during that stretch. While the old standards are here — Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum can take over a game offensively at any time — the supporting cast has been a disappointment. Mario Hezonja hasn’t been reliable. The bench is thinner than previous years. Hassan Whiteside is... Hassan Whiteside. The Raptors can put some points down tonight if they’re focused. Like most Raptors-Blazers matchups, it might come down to a shootout.
So, here are the game details. Let’s watch!
Where to Watch:
TSN, 10 PM ET
Toronto - Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Malcolm Miller, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Portland - Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Kent Bazemore, Mario Hezonja, Hassan Whiteside
Toronto - Kyle Lowry (out - thumb), Serge Ibaka (out - ankle), OG Anunoby (out - eye contusion), Patrick McCaw (out - knee)
Portland - Pau Gasol (out - foot)