The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Raptors return to the hardcourt tonight to host the Suns, and while they’ve got some new faces, the team is once again facing those four dreaded words: health and safety protocols.
First, the good news. After being acquired from the Blazers before Thursday’s deadline, both Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood have arrived in Tampa and are cleared to play tonight.
Trent Jr. and Hood are cleared and good-to-go for the Raptors tonight.— Eric Smith (@Eric__Smith) March 26, 2021
Now the bad news. After trading away their less consistent bench guards in Terence Davis (to Sacramento) and Matt Thomas (to Utah), the two men who have taken their place in the rotation are out tonight — DeAndre’ Bembry and Paul Watson are both in COVID-19 protocols. The Raptors are also missing Patrick McCaw, out with a knee injury.
Paul Watson and DeAndre’ Bembry are both OUT for tonight's game vs Phoenix due to the health and safety protocols. Patrick McCaw also remains out with knee swelling. The new guys, Gary Trent and Rodney Hood, are with the team and expected to be available.— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) March 26, 2021
The result is almost sure to be playing time for Trent and probably even Hood, unless Nurse decides to go with an ultra tight rotation.
For the upstart Suns, who have become one of the league’s best stories sitting in second in the Western Conference, Abdel Nader will miss the game with a knee injury. Mikal Bridges, probable before the game with heel soreness, will start.
For more nuts and bolts, check out this morning’s preview from Joseph Strauss. Here are the game details.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet One, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam
Phoenix — Chris Paul, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton
Toronto — DeAndre’ Bembry (out - health and safety protocol), Paul Watson (out - health and safety protocol), Patrick McCaw (out - knee)
Phoenix — Abdel Nader (out - knee)