The Toronto Raptors are on the road to play five games away from Toronto — and in front of fans. First stop, Detroit! They visit number one overall draft pick Cade Cunningham, previous head coach Dwane Casey, and a few Canadian ballers tonight just over the border.
For Toronto, Isaac Bonga and David Johnson remain down with the Raptors 905 and will not be with the Raptors tonight. Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. are listed as questionable for tonight’s game, due to injury. Head coach Nick Nurse commented yesterday that both made the trip but only Scottie Barnes participated in practice yesterday.
For The Pistons, Grant, Jackson, Livers, Olynyk, and Smith are listed as OUT.
The game is at 7:00PM ET and can be watched on TSN.
Don’t shoot trying to miss
The Raptors’ last game was against the number one team in the league, The Phoenix Suns, which they lost 99-95. A pretty low scoring game for the Raptors, who had been scoring totals much higher in previous games. It was a bad shooting night — which makes sense when you think about Gary Trent Jr. and Scottie Barnes both sitting.
Those two are shot makers for the team and their absence was felt. With both questionable tonight, The Raptors are going to have to figure how to get more shots in the basket. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby all performed well in the game against the Suns, but more production from the bench would help get the score up.
With the All-Star voting update coming out yesterday, we now have TWO Raptors on the top ten lists: Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam. Both have been playing at a high level, leading the team to a six game winning streak (that was ultimately broken against Phoenix).
For the Raptors to win, these two need to have a good night. VanVleet is currently averaging 22.0 PPG, 6.6 APG, and 4.9 RPG on the season, and those numbers have increased more recently. Siakam on the other hand — who only started playing this season in November due to surgery recovery — is averaging 20.7 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 4.6 APG.
Bringing it off the bench
Toronto’s bench production has been... lacking, of late. After starting the season off slow, Chris Boucher has been a great source of energy and length off the bench. Justin Champagnie continues to prove himself in what few minutes he has played in recent games. But outside of those two, bench performances have just not been memorable in recent games.
With Gary Trent Jr and Scottie Barnes out against the Suns, that was even more noticeable. If they sit out against the Pistons, it would be the perfect opportunity for another bench player to have a great night and provide needed production off the bench.
Can the Raptors get back in W column tonight? If Scottie Barnes plays, it will be a fun match up between two top players from the 2021 draft class. Let’s see how this team reacts to playing in front of fans again!