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Game Thread: Raptors vs. Suns updates, TV info, and more

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Real, actual, live NBA basketball is back after the week long All-Star break, as the Raptors will look to start the back-end of the season off strong against the Suns

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Toronto Raptors Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

I’m not going to lie, the All-Star break took it’s toll on me. First the Raptors’ entered the break on a down note, as their franchise record 15 game win-streak was finally snapped by the Brooklyn Nets. Then, as is tradition, the internet got very angry at Kyle Lowry, his newly acquired Championship ring doing nothing to dissuade people from getting utterly incensed at him for making a 6th consecutive All-Star game. Then drudgery set in: on break from school and desperate for basketball content of some kind, I took to sketchy seeming Russian streaming sites to watch footage of various draft sleepers, hoping to identify the ones the Raptors’ would eventually select. I needed this day to come, and yet it felt agonizingly slow in its approach. Thank goodness it’s finally here.

For the Raptors’ though, the break was clearly of especial importance, given how sluggish they’d looked entering the break. Coming off a demanding stretch of schedule in which they had to play 3 games in 4 nights multiple times, the rest was obviously welcome. For some Raptors’ the rest was so welcome that they’ll continue resting: the team is planning to play it extra cautious with Marc Gasol’s hamstring, saying he’ll get into games before the playoffs, but not before he’s “fully, fully healed.”

For nearly everyone else it’s back to business against the mercurial Pheonix Suns. The Suns entered the break on a downswing, losing 6 of 8, including 3 blowout losses, but they’re getting back a couple key pieces that missed time before the break, in the form of big man tandem DeAndre Ayton and Aron Baynes. And hey, maybe Devin Booker shows some first-time All-Star shine and comes out with an inspired performance?

Will the Raptors start the back end of the year strong? Or will the Suns rain on their parade? Let’s watch.

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Where to Watch:

TSN, 7:30 p.m. ET

Lineups:

Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka

Phoenix – Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Kelly Oubre Jr., Deandre Ayton

Injuries:

Toronto – Marc Gasol (Hamstring – Out), Norman Powell (Finger – Out), Patrick McCaw (Illness – Out)

Phoenix – Frank Kaminsky (Knee – Out)