Ready or not, the Toronto Raptors will play the Atlanta Hawks tonight. The Raptors entered the All-Star break banged up, and things are starting to become concerning, with injuries to OG Anunoby and All-Star Fred VanVleet potentially having a long-term effect. Per coach Nick Nurse, Pascal Siakam is expected to play tonight, despite not looking good playing through illness last night. VanVleet, on the other hand, remains questionable but is unlikely to play.
Fred VanVleet is the first Raptors player on the court. He’s questionable and has a sleeve on that right knee. pic.twitter.com/TTOKBdRNUS— Pat Benson (@Pat_Benson_Jr) February 26, 2022
The Raptors have a terrible schedule as they return into action after the All-Star break. Since Valentine’s Day, they have been on the road, and they are on their day two of their six games in eight nights (three back-to-backs). That’s a brutal schedule for the reeling Raptors, as they need to salvage as many wins as possible to keep within the 6th seed and avoid the play-in. A win against the Hawks should give them some buffer before they face the Brooklyn Nets on a back-to-back, home-and-home series starting on Monday.
Speaking of the Atlanta Hawks, they haven’t been the same since the Raptors snapped their seven-game winning streak. Since then, they have been playing pretty much .500 ball, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t good. The Hawks have beaten the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers during that stretch, so it goes to say that the Raptors have to bring their “A” game if they plan to leave Atlanta with a dub. Earlier today, our buddy Zakaria Abdulle broke down the Hawks’ dual personality on the game preview.
A win against the Hawks should give the Raptors the tie-breaker, which might come in handy at the end of the season. However, Nick Nurse and the Raptors will have their hands full with key starters either missing the game or won’t be 100% for tonight if they do play.
Oh, and before we go, let me get in some Raptors 905 propaganda. it’s David Johnson’s birthday today, so let’s greet the rook with a Happy Birthday! It looks like he’s turned the corner recently, maybe Nick Nurse should give him a look?
Where to Watch:
TSN, 7:30PM EST
Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch
Atlanta – Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, DeAndre Hunter, Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela
Toronto — OG Anunoby (hand – out), Pascal Siakam (non-COVID illness – questionable), Fred VanVleet (knee – questionable), Isaac Bonga (G League Assignment), David Johnson (G League Assignment)
Atlanta – John Collins (foot – out), Lou Williams (hip – out), Sharife Cooper (G League Assignment)