For all the fingers we could point at the NBA for continuing on with the 2020-21 season, it definitely sounds like somewhere along the line recently someone on the Raptors messed up — however modestly. A portion of Toronto’s coaching staff, including Nick Nurse, has been out since Friday due to the league’s health and safety protocols; meanwhile, as announced earlier this week, a chunk of the roster — including central figures Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and OG Anunoby — are now in quarantine too. For various reasons, both big and small, it did not have to be this way.
As adroitly put by Shams Charania, who certainly goes all-in here on the finger pointing:
Many of the positives cases, as expected, are isolated on one team (Toronto). The NBA postponed two Raptors games and the team is returning to action tonight. Sources said the internal spread seems to have arisen from inconsistent mask-wearing from coaching staff members. https://t.co/YkyI58T4wS— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 3, 2021
The Pistons are in Tampa after tonight’s game was delayed a day. The Raptors have enough players to go, so they’ll take the court. Working in their favour is the fact that the Pistons are quite a bad team — and are missing a few of their core pieces (like former Raptor Delon Wright). Nothing is certain in this league, but even diminished as they are, the Raptors remain favoured in the matchup.
That’s because, of course, the Raptors still have an active Kyle Lowry. With him ready to go, any combination of players can expect to have their collective floor raised and to compete at a higher level. And in that spirit, we’re given a reason to watch this game through the malaise of this drag of a season and the recent COVID-related news. A chance to see Lowry put together something special with whomever is at hand could be something to see.
Here’s Joseph with the full Raptors-Pistons preview from this morning. Below are the updated details. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch:
TSN at 7pm EST
Toronto – Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell, Terence Davis, Yuta Watanabe, Aron Baynes
Detroit – Dennis Smith Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, Wayne Ellington, Saddiq Bey, Mason Plumlee
Toronto – Pascal Siakam (out – health and safety protocols), Fred VanVleet (out – health and safety protocols), OG Anunoby (out – health and safety protocols), Patrick McCaw (out – health and safety protocols), Malachi Flynn (out – health and safety protocols)
Detroit – Blake Griffin (out – not injury related), Delon Wright (out – groin), Killian Hayes (out – hip), Jahlil Okafor (out – knee), Frank Jackson (out – illness), Josh Jackson (out – illness), Jerami Grant (doubtful – quad)