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Game thread: Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks

The Raptors are set to close out their three-game homestand as they face the power backcourt of the Atlanta Hawks — without Fred VanVleet.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It was very obvious to anyone watching on Friday night that Fred VanVleet was not himself. As such, it should come as no surprise that VanVleet will not play for the Toronto Raptors tonight, as he rests a stiff lower back.

Which likely spells trouble for the 3-3 Raptors. Guards like Tyrese Maxey (44 points on 20 shots on Friday) , Trae Young and Dejounte Murray, with end-to-end speed and quickness at the point of attack, feast if Fred isn’t 100% or sitting out. O.G. Anunoby can quell some of the damage, but not all.

Rookie Christian Koloko will start in VanVleet’s place (with Scottie Barnes nominally moving to the point guard spot); in theory, Koloko provides some backstop/rim protection against penetration, but as our Zach Wilson wrote about earlier today, big man or not, Koloko is still just a rookie and still finding his way.

So — it’s a tough matchup! And both teams need a W to keep pace in the competitive East. Let’s see if the Raptors can surprise and pull one out before the head out on the road!

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet One, 7:30 PM ET


Toronto – Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Christian Koloko

Atlanta – Trae Young, Dejounte Murray, De’Andre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela


Toronto – Otto Porter Jr. (out – personal). Fred VanVleet (questionable – back)

Atlanta – Bojan Bogdanovic (out – knee)