The value of these last four games, starting with tonight’s contest against the Clippers, is to see how Toronto’s most inexperienced players handle the increased workload. If you’re rookie Malachi Flynn, can you run the Raptors’ offense? If you’re Freddie Gillespie, can you be counted on to help coordinate the team’s backline defense? If you’re Jalen Harris, can you show you belong on an NBA court as a full-time rotation player? There are more questions, and the hope is that these games will start to give us some sense of answers.
There’s not much more to this contest. The Raptors are out of the playoffs, can’t move up (e.g. by losing more) in the Draft Lottery, and their fate is all but sealed (though there’s a chance they could move down in said lottery) for the 2020-21 NBA season. I know with four games left to go, again, including tonight’s, it’s perhaps a bit early to share that sentiment — but it’s also the first time the Raptors have been here since 2013. And long-time readers will recall it’s the first time I’ve been here since taking over at HQ. What a long journey it has been, what a run of success too.
Meanwhile, the Clippers are a game up on the Nuggets for third place in the West and it stands to reason they’d like to stay there. That’s not to say LA won’t also be easing their way into the playoffs, but they too have less to play for in this final run of the season. The matchups are just about set — though let’s see how Chris Boucher looks in his return — so now we can just take in tonight’s game for what it is: an entertaining, stress-free TV show.
Our man Dylan has the full take on Raptors-Clippers here — including some sage advice — and below are the updated game details. Now, let’s watch
Where to Watch
Sportsnet at 7:30 PM EST
Toronto – Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., Stanley Johnson, Chris Boucher, Khem Birch
Los Angeles – Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Toronto – Kyle Lowry (rest – out), Fred VanVleet (hip – out), OG Anunoby (calf – out), Pascal Siakam (shoulder – out), Paul Watson Jr. (knee – out), Rodney Hood (hand – out), Aron Baynes (foot – out)
Los Angeles – Amir Coffey (health and safety protocols – out), Serge Ibaka (back – out)