This morning, the hook of Sunday evening’s Raptors vs. Spurs showdown was the return, once again, of DeMar DeRozan. Given how things ended between Toronto and DeMar, with his sudden trade and the Raps then winning a championship without him, praising DeRozan effusively is the least we can do. Unfortunately for DeRozan, he’s about to get the short end of things again: as confirmed by coach Nick Nurse before the game, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam will indeed be playing in tonight’s game. That’s the story now.
It’s difficult to overstate how much of a relief it will be to see Siakam back on the court with the Raptors. While the team has been able to stay afloat since that ill-fated Pistons game on December 18th — going 6-5 despite missing Siakam, Marc Gasol, Powell, and (for a chunk of time) Fred VanVleet — the Raptors have had to put in some extra labour in most of their wins, and endured some rough losses of both the close and not-so-close variety.
It’s that last bit where Siakam can conceivably help the most. The Raptors have needed a guy who could just straight-up put the ball in the basket — to help them keep pace, to help them put teams away, and to help create something from nothing with the game on the line. Siakam checks all three boxes. To add Powell to that mix, another confident gamer who can help on both sides of the ball, is another boon for Toronto. It’s heartening to see all-around.
Obviously there will be some rust, and it feels like Siakam may be on some sort of minutes restriction. But the longest journey always begins with a single step. And if said journey has to start against DeRozan and a whole host of other former Raptors now playing for San Antonio — Rudy Gay, DeMarre Carroll, Marco Belinelli, Jakob Poeltl — well, why not? That works for me.
The more fulsome preview for Raptors-Spurs is here from Sully Akbari. Below are the majorly updated details. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One at 6pm EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
San Antonio — Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Trey Lyles
Toronto — Marc Gasol (hamstring — out), Fred VanVleet (hamstring — out), Dewan Hernandez (ankle — out)
San Antonio — None