Alright, alright, this has been a very cute little losing streak, my expectations have been properly chastened, but can it just, like, be over now?
Well, the Raptors are going up against the Phoenix Suns, who they beat by 118-101 in their first game back from the All-Star break, recording a season-high 13 blocked shots along the way. Unfortunately, for both the Raptors and my serotonin output, the lineup the Raptors are fielding today is substantially different than the one they used against the Suns on February 21st, owing to the continued absence of Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka, both of whom have been day-to-day for the past week or so.
No VanVleet or Ibaka. Same situation as Sunday.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) March 4, 2020
Ibaka’s injury has coincided with a hamstring injury to Marc Gasol, leaving the Raptors without a true healthy center on the roster. That was a bigger issue on Sunday against the Nuggets, for whom Nikola Jokic mans the middle, but the Suns aren’t pushovers up front either, and the Raptors could be hard pressed to contend with both DeAndre Ayton and Aron Baynes tonight. OG Anunoby has been the Raptors’ best defensive option against size, but putting him on Ayton or Baynes takes him off All-Star guard Devin Booker, so there’ll be trade-offs however they choose to match-up.
Will the Raptors’ slump continue? Or will they find a way to shine against the Suns? Let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 9:00 p.m. EST
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, OG Anunoby, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Pascal Siakam
Phoenix — Ricky Rubio, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Dario Saric, Deandre Ayton
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (shoulder — out), Serge Ibaka (knee — out), Marc Gasol (hamstring — out), Dewan Hernandez (ankle — out)
Phoenix — Kelly Oubre Jr. (knee — out), Frank Kaminsky (knee — out)