Winning continues to elude the Toronto Raptors, but the improvements are starting to show.
Last night, the team showed a fair bit of heart in a 106-105 loss to the Warriors, climbing back into the game and enjoying another successful outing for the once-chilled, now-microwaved Pascal Siakam. Toronto’s all-star forward is now averaging 21.2 points and 7.8 rebounds over his last five games, while shooting 50% from the field — a marked improvement from the shadow figure we saw in the bubble and to start this campaign.
Tonight, though, it would be nice if the 2-6 Raptors could turn their positive momentum into a win. The one hurdle in their way is depth, as outside their top six players (Lowry, VanVleet, OG, Siakam, Powell, and Boucher) the team is struggling to get productivity from... anyone.
Nick Nurse has apparently concocted another solution serum, as he announced in his pre-game availability that he’ll be changing the starters once again — without revealing what that lineup is.
Nurse says he plans to switch up his starters again tonight in Portland. Once again, he'll wait to reveal the change(s).— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 12, 2021
Best guess is that the Raptors adjust to Portland’s size after playing a small lineup in Golden State. With Chris Boucher playing well, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the birthday boy get a spot in the starting five. That, or we’re back to the cycle of disappointment with Aron Baynes or Alex Len, who have yet to do much of anything in Raptors uniforms. We’ll keep you updated.
Update: It’s Len.
Raptors starting Lowry, VanVleet, Siakam, Anunoby and Len— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) January 12, 2021
On the Portland side, the 5-4 Blazers have also been up and down to start the season, but continue to enjoy one of the league’s best offenses. Portland has scored over 100 in each of their last five games and with even more depth on that end of the floor — Enes Kanter and Derrick Jones are off-season acquisitions — the Raptors’ defence will be tested.
Before the game gets going, check out this morning’s preview from Sully Akbari. Here are the details.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet, 10 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Alex Len
Portland — Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Derrick Jones Jr., Robert Covington, Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto — Patrick McCaw (out - knee)
Portland — Zach Collins (out - ankle)