In the midst of a quiet stretch of their schedule, things are looking up for the Toronto Raptors. They’re finally seeing players return en masse from injury, with Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell already making an entrance during Sunday’s game against the Spurs, and Marc Gasol returning tonight.
That said, there’s some recent history to get over. The Spurs game was a tough one — coming right down to the wire and a one-point loss. The timeline is familiar to another recent game, against the very Oklahoma City Thunder team the Raptors will play tonight.
Against the Spurs, the Raptors were up 14 but couldn’t close the deal. Back on December 29, they were up 16 on the Thunder but ended up losing at home — with the much maligned end of game featuring a missed opportunity to foul at the last minute and some poor execution.
The Thunder team the Raptors will see tonight features the same faces they saw a couple weeks ago. Chris Paul is enjoying a Renaissance stretch in his career, highlighted by a villain turn in Russell Westbrook’s return to Oklahoma City on national television. Overall, Oklahoma City have won 12 of their last 15 games.
As for the Raptors, much has changed. Siakam, Powell, and Gasol are back — and Nick Nurse is taking the bold step of starting Gasol next to Serge Ibaka, creating a monstrocity of a lineup (that also includes Kyle Lowry).
Raptors going humongous with Lowry, Anunoby, Siakam, Ibaka, and Gasol starting. Love it.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 16, 2020
Will it work? Well, regardless to who starts, the Raptors have more firepower to make up for the mistakes of late December. Let’s look at the game details and watch.
Where to Watch
TSN, 8 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol
Oklahoma City — Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Terrance Ferguson, Danila Gallinari, Steven Adams
Toronto – Fred VanVleet (out - hamstring), Dewan Hernandez (out - ankle)
Oklahoma City — Abdel Nader (out - ankle), Nerlens Noel (out - ankle), Andre Roberson (out - knee)