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Game thread: Toronto Raptors at Phoenix Suns

The Raptors look to keep the good times rolling as they prepare to take on the banged up Suns.

Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors
A Canadian heritage moment when Khem Birch and Chris Boucher dap each other up against the Suns earlier this season.
Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Coming off of a fairly resounding win in the return of Fred VanVleet against the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors stare down the barrel of two extremely tough West coast opponents in a back-to-back. The first leg comes tonight against the team with the NBA’s best-record, the Phoenix Suns.

Though Phoenix will be without Chris Paul and Cam Johnson, and have been battling myriad of injuries on their own, they have already secured a playoff spot. Without those two players, the Suns still have a bevvy of skilled players on both sides of the ball and will absolutely challenge the Raptors. Toronto, on the other hand, is fighting tooth and nail to stay at the top of the Play-In ladder and/or push beyond into Cleveland’s 6th position.

A night against the best team in the league, followed by a night against the reigning MVP in Nikola Jokic and his Denver Nuggets is no enviable task. In an ideal world, the Raptors can push the short-handed Suns to an large enough deficit and Coach Monty Williams of the Suns will bring his bench in with enough time left in the 4th quarter that the Raptors can do the same. While that may be — very — wishful thinking, the Raptors played the Suns hard in their only other matchup earlier this year, so we’re not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

Tune in tonight and see below for the game details.

Where to Watch

Sportsnet, 9:00 PM ET

Lineups

Toronto – Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch

Phoenix – Cameron Payne, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder, Deandre Ayton

Injuries

Toronto – Malachi Flynn (hamstring – out), OG Anunoby (finger – out)

Phoenix – Cam Johnson (quad – out), Frank Kaminsky (knee – out), Chris Paul (thumb – out). Dario Saric (knee – out)