The Toronto Raptors wrap up their mini-Texas road trip tonight when they take on the Dallas Mavericks. Both teams have won two straight, both teams have early season MVP candidates as Zach Wilson wrote about this morning.
But enough about MVPs! Let’s talk about a couple Canadian big men, eh?
Chris Boucher’s impact on the Raptors has been clear. The team is 4-1 since he came back from the injury that kept him out of the first few games, and his energy level has been contagious. The motor is just going non-stop! The Raptors’ bench looked like an albatross those first three games; since Boucher’s return, the bench is scoring 34.6 points per game (14th in the league) vs. 19.7 points in those first three games (29th in the league). As usual, Boucher is blocking shots (1.2 per game) and hitting threes — although he’s doing that at a ridiculous 56% on 3.2 attempts per game.
Then there’s Dwight Powell in Dallas. Powell played all 82 games last year (starting 71) after working his way back from an achilles injury that cost him the entire 2020-21 season — and for that effort he got demoted when the Mavericks signed JaVale McGee, of all people. He played seven total minutes in the team’s first four games. But Powell didn’t complain, and he’s steadily been playing more, averaging 9 points and 4 boards in 16 minutes over the last three.
That willingness to work hard and stay ready inspired Spencer Dinwiddie to tell the world exactly how hard Powell works:
So my advice for tonight: Watch the MVPs, but keep an eye on Boucher and Powell too! And it’ll be easy for Powell, as the Mavericks have announced he’s moving back into the starting lineup tonight!
As for late injury updates, both Fred VanVleet and Khem Birch are out tonight, with back and knee soreness, respectively. Bertans and Ntilikina remain out for the Mavs.
Where to watch:
TSN, 8:30 PM ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam
Dallas Mavericks — Luka Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie, Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet (back – out), Khem Birch (knee – out), Ron Harper Jr. (G League assignment – out), Justin Champagnie (G League assignment – out)
Dallas Mavericks — Davis Bertans (knee – out), Tyler Dorsey (G League assignment – out), Jaden Hardy (G League assignment – out), Frank Ntilikina (ankle – out), McKinley Wright IV (G League assignment – out)