Though the games aren’t meaningful just yet, the Raptors have to feel good following a Friday win over the Rockets. They showed up after four months off, grabbed a win, and dressed the part of a 2019-20 squad we’ve come to love.
This evening, they’ll move on to the second of three scrimmage games against the Portland Trail Blazers, who enter this matchup — similar to Toronto — with their eyes firmly on early August.
Both the Raptors and Blazers are returning major pieces to their rotation after the coronavirus layoff; two teams that are finally healthy after long-term injuries marred their early seasons.
For Toronto, that includes Marc Gasol, who should get minutes tonight after a healthy sit-out on Friday. They’ve also got a complete rotation around Gasol, Kyle Lowry, and Pascal Siakam — all three of whom missed serious time before the season stopped.
Gasol will play for the Raptors tonight. Patrick McCaw is still out. Nurse says he’s been dealing with a reoccurring issue. Everybody else should be available.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 26, 2020
As for Portland, their anemic big man rotation is no more thanks to the returns of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins — both of whom played in a 91-88 loss to Indiana in their bubble opener.
Nurkic in particular is one to watch, as he’s playing his first competitive ball since breaking his leg in March 2019. The Blazers are banking on him being their secret ingredient as they try to catch the Grizzlies (3.5 games up) and beat a crowded field in the West to a spot in the playoffs.
So yes, both teams want to see their teams stay healthy and build rhythm tonight. The actual results don’t matter yet, but for the Raptors and Blazers, the process has never had a bigger spotlight.
Here are the game details. Let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet, 6 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol
Portland — CJ McCollum, Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins, Hassan Whiteside, Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto — Patrick McCaw (undisclosed - out)
McCaw missed 20 of the team's first 23 games due to surgery to remove a benign mass from his left knee. Not sure if Nurse's comment that it's a recurring issue was a reference back to that, or strictly something he's been working through of late. Nurse declined details.— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) July 26, 2020
Portland — Damian Lillard (foot inflammation - out), Rodney Hood (achilles - out)
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard will be given today’s scrimmage off against the Toronto Raptors, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 26, 2020