Trailing the Bulls and the last play in spot by two games, the Raptors have to be feeling like Lloyd Christmas despite their recent struggles. Yes, we’re telling them there’s a chance.
Still, riding a three-game losing streak, the time to sort out their health and miserable play is dwindling. With 17 games left in the regular season and injuries up and down the rotation, it’ll take a last minute push just to get a puncher’s chance at a first round series. Some, rightfully so, would rather see the team fade and get a better chance in the lottery. You’d be fair for wanting that too.
For now, let’s try to enjoy the games in front of us — no matter what side of the aisle you’re on. Tonight, we’ll get an always entertaining title card, as DeMar DeRozan gets another opportunity to scorn his former team and B.F.F.L. Kyle Lowry.
It won’t be bro against bro, though, as Lowry is one of many Raptors sitting this one out in Tampa. The veteran will miss tonight’s game to rest his toe; joining him is Gary Trent Jr. with ankle soreness, DeAndre’ Bembry with a hamstring issue, and Jalen Harris with a hip.
Good news front: Paul Watson is out of COVID-19 protocols and could be relied on quite a bit tonight with such a thin wing rotation (Malachi Flynn and Rodney Hood are the only other active guards).
You can qualify this as good news too: Fred VanVleet is out tonight serving his one-game suspension for leaving the bench in last week’s Lakers fracas, rather than a nagging hip injury. This suggests he could make his return as soon as Friday against the Magic.
Well, this is gonna be a Raptors lineup for the ages tonight— Doug Smith: Raptors (@SmithRaps) April 14, 2021
The "outs" are Bembry (hamstring), Harris (hip) Lowry (rest), Trent (ankle), VanVleet (suspension, rather than the hip).
Paul Watson is available and may have to play 42 minutes
San Antonio, meanwhile, will be mostly healthy as they continue their pursuit of the Grizzlies and the West’s eight-seed — right now sitting just a game back. Gorgui Dieng and Trey Lyles will be the only players sitting this one out.
For more, check out this morning’s preview by Zakaria Abdulle. Here are the full details.
Where to Watch
TSN, 7:30 PM ET
Toronto — Malachi Flynn, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Khem Birch
San Antonio — Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, DeMar DeRozan, Keldon Johnson, Jakob Poeltl
Toronto — Kyle Lowry (rest/toe — OUT), Gary Trent Jr. (ankle — OUT), DeAndre’ Bembry (hamstring — OUT), Fred VanVleet (suspension — OUT), Jalen Harris (hip — OUT)
San Antonio — Gorgui Dieng (shoulder — OUT), Trey Lyles (ankle — OUT)