The confluence of events that has steered us all to this point is large enough now we don’t have to rehash it. The particulars are here: the Raptors have lost eight games in a row, the Rockets have lost 20. This has all the makings of an extremely sad basketball game. Either the Raptors come out and crush the Rockets (which should be the outcome) and we have to watch poor coach Stephen Silas stand there on the sidelines, his nascent coaching career crumbling apart in real-time, his squad aimlessly dropping another game; or the Raptors falter, and we have to consider the end of the Kyle Lowry era.
Am I being overly dramatic? Yes — but also, consider this: no, I’m not.
If you can believe this, since last time these two teams met things have gotten considerably worse for the Rockets (and maybe the Raptors too, at least spiritually). That wasn’t a typo, Houston has indeed lost 20 games in a row, and they’ve also traded PJ Tucker, a proven battler, and will play this evening without Victor Oladipo and Eric Gordon. The Raptors, meanwhile, are in better shape — but only just. They’re all relatively healthy now — though OG Anunoby has the back-to-back night off for calf injury maintenance — and yet they can’t seem to win a dang game.
Which brings me back to my earlier concern: this could be a sad game. Look, I don’t want to contemplate the end of good things, and I certainly don’t want to consider that we’re watching the Raptors fray apart while they play all their “home” games in Tampa. But it also feels like this game could be the nadir of something if Toronto can’t prove they still have that underdog, win-at-all-costs fight in them. It’s easy to say it’s still there, it really is. But we’ve got to see it.
In any case, here’s Sully with the full take on Raptors-Rockets from this morning. Below are the updated details in advance of tip-off. And now, God help us, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 9pm EST
Toronto — Fred VanVleet, Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, Stanley Johnson, Pascal Siakam
Houston — John Wall, Sterling Brown, Danuel House, Jae’Sean Tate, Christian Wood
Toronto — OG Anunoby (out – calf)
Houston — Victor Oladipo (out – quad), Eric Gordon (out – strained groin), David Nwaba (out – strained wrist), Dante Exum (out – right calf strain), Kevin Porter Jr. (out – quad), D.J. Augustin (probable – illness)