There’s no doubt that the on-court experience for the Toronto Raptors has been tremendously fun this season. Defensive intensity has been hammered into the DNA of this team from Nick Nurse and Kyle Lowry, and it showed again last night; anytime Toronto goes up against a lethargic team like Portland, they can shock and awe them with live bodies jumping, swatting, and running down the basketball. The Raptors built a big lead, even up against the mighty Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.
Unfortunately, the injuries for the Raptors have piled up to the point that the opposition’s talent is starting to matter more than Toronto’s hustle in the moments when it counts. The Raptors are 5-5 over their last ten and, last night, couldn’t sustain a lead with Kyle Lowry on the bench and couldn’t execute in the fourth quarter save for some Chris Boucher and Oshae Brissett hero threes.
Luckily, the Raptors can put that behind them and look forward to an easier opponent tonight and a few days of rest after that. Norman Powell will not play tonight — he was the closest of the injured Raptors to returning, but news seems positive that troops could return for the San Antonio game on Sunday.
Norman Powell is out tonight— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) January 8, 2020
Nurse will also shake up his starting lineup, moving Rondae Hollis-Jefferson back to the bench and shifting Patrick McCaw and OG Anunoby down to accommodate Terence Davis. (Is this the offensive lineup that should’ve ended regulation last night? That’s for you to decide!)
Raptors are starting Lowry, Davis, McCaw, Anunoby, and Ibaka.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 8, 2020
So, can the Raptors hustle the Hornets into a loss? Let’s check out the game details... and watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 7 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Terence Davis, Patrick McCaw, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka
Charlotte — Terry Rozier, Devonte’ Graham, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, Bismack Biyombo
Toronto — Norman Powell (out - shoulder), Fred VanVleet (out - hamstring), Pascal Siakam (out - groin), Marc Gasol (out - hamstring), Dewan Hernandez (out - ankle)
Charlotte — Marvin Williams (out - nose)