Game 82. It took a long time, but we’ve finally gotten here. Sure, it doesn’t mean much in terms of the standings, as the Raptors are locked into second place in the conference, but there are a few things to pay attention to tonight.
The Raptors can clinch home court advantage in the Finals (if they make it there, of course) with a win, and it’s another chance to see what Nick Nurse has in store for potential playoff rotations.
Nurse RE: his game plan/rotation tonight: "As of this moment we're goin to approach it as normal & see how it flows. I think we approach it as we're goin in there to play the rotation -- goin in there playin to win -- and let's see what happens once we get into the throws of it."— Eric Smith (@Eric__Smith) April 9, 2019
At least, that was the plan earlier in the afternoon. Coach Nurse has decided to rest Lowry and Ibaka for tonight’s contest, with VanVleet entering the starting lineup. I think in the end this is for the best, why risk your most important player if you don’t have to? Especially considering Lowry’s injury history entering the playoffs. With this motive now in mind, it will be interesting to see how many minutes the other starters play.
Nurse changes course. Lowry and Ibaka resting for Raptors tonight.— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 9, 2019
Meanwhile, from the Timberwolves side, they’ll be coming in with a bit of a new identity for tonight’s game. Announcing on Twitter they’re rebranding themselves as the Minnesota Direwolves in a battle for northern supremacy, Game of Thrones-style. Sure it’s silly, but it’s a fun way to get otherwise disinterested T’Wolves fans excited for their last home game of the season. Although with this campaign, it’s obvious they don’t read Zach Lowe, who expertly ruled that the Raptors own “north” related slogans in perpetuity.
Below you can find the updated details for the game, and make sure to read Sabtir Singh’s preview from this morning. Let’s enjoy the last game before the second season begins.
Where to Watch:
TSN, 8:00 PM EST
Toronto: Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol
Minnesota: Tyus Jones, Josh Okogie, Andrew Wiggins, Dario Saric, Gorgui Dieng
Toronto: Patrick McCaw (thumb - out), Kyle Lowry (rest - out), Serge Ibaka (rest - out)
Minnesota: Jeff Teague (foot - out), Derrick Rose (elbow - out), Robert Covington (knee - out), Luol Deng (achilles - out), Taj Gibson (calf - out), Jerryd Bayless (ankle - questionable), Karl-Anthony Towns (knee - out)