Don’t look now but the Toronto Raptors are above .500, getting healthy and are about a week away from a soft spot in their schedule.
With Pascal Siakam back in the fold and looking sharp — 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a rousing 100-88 win over the Cavaliers on Monday — Toronto is ready to see their basketball team ascend.
They have every reason to see their dreams come true. After tonight’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, who are banged up outside of Zion Williamson, three of the Raptors’ next six games are against the Orlando Magic (NBA schedule makers asleep at the wheel??) and have an opportunity to get even further into the mix in the Eastern Conference. It’s early, but being 1.5 games out of the three seed has to feel good amidst all the injuries over the past two months, and the Raptors have weathered their storm exceptionally well.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. The Pelicans have quietly had their own exceptional start to the season. With a record of 12-8 and a point differential of +5.5, the Pels have every mark of a team that can host a playoff series come the spring, and have been part of a topsy-turvy Western Conference standings where young teams are outpacing old juggernauts by a fair margin. The Pels, Nuggets, Grizzlies and Kings are all in the top six in the West as of writing this. Pretty incredible.
No real injury updates heading into tonight’s game for the Raptors. Otto Porter Jr. will continue to sit with his toe injury, and Precious Achiuwa is at the beginning of a 2-3 week period before his next re-evaluation.
Here are the rest of the game details.
Where to watch:
TSN, 8 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Thad Young
New Orleans Pelicans – Jose Alvarado, Dyson Daniels, Herb Jones, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas
Toronto Raptors – Otto Porter Jr. (toe – out), Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out)
New Orleans Pelicans – CJ McCollum (conditioning – out), Brandon Ingram (toe – out), Naji Marshall (illness – out), E.J. Liddell (knee – out)