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Game Thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets

Don’t like the idea of a play-in game? Then this will be a big game tonight.

Charlotte Hornets v Toronto Raptors Photo by Mark Lo Moglio/NBAE via Getty Images

Losing four of their last six games, the Toronto Raptors find themselves back at the .500 mark and ninth place in the East — right in the heart of the play-in tournament.

Obviously, to get out of this morass of mediocre teams, they’ll need to start beating those above them in the standings (whether you want to be in the play-in tournament instead of an improved lottery spot is a topic for another day). One of those teams is the Charlotte Hornets.

The Raptors are thin and tired as of late, which may leave them susceptible to a run-and-gun Hornets team with weapons like LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges — who would bring the oohs and aahs if there was anyone to give them at Scotiabank Arena.

The hosts will be without their future All-Star too, as Fred VanVleet will miss Tuesday’s game with knee soreness.

With rotation players VanVleet and Khem Birch out, the Raptors will be asking even more of the players Nick Nurse trusts.

Precious Achiuwa gets the start in place of VanVleet, which likely means Pascal Siakam will run the offense — fun in the short term, but a bit troubling when minutes are an issue and you’ve got a game tomorrow in Chicago and one on Saturday against the bruising Miami Heat. All we can do is hold our breath and hope for a trade, it feels like.

For Charlotte, Gordon Hayward was questionable coming into today and will not play. Cody Martin starts in his place.

Here are the rest of the details for tonight’s game.

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet, 7:00PM EST

Lineups:

Toronto – Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, Pascal Siakam, Precious Achiuwa

Charlotte – Terry Rozier, LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges, Cody Martin, Mason Plumlee

Injuries:

UPDATE: Scottie Barnes is a late scratch. More details to come.

Toronto — Scottie Barnes (out), Fred VanVleet (knee – out), Khem Birch (nose – out), Goran Dragic (personal – out), David Johnson (health and safety protocols – out)

Charlotte – Gordon Hayward (foot – out), Jalen McDaniels (ankle – out)