The slumping Toronto Raptors are set to play the Portland Trail Blazers in a Sunday afternoon matinee today, and I’m kinda dreading it — because the combination of “slumping” and “Sunday afternoon matinee” makes me fear this could the worst yet of the Raptors’ many underwhelming and disappointing games this season.
We’ve all seen it before: teams come out listless and disorganized in these afternoon games, sometimes because they’ve been partying the night before, but more often just because it’s a change in routine that messes up the players’ rhythm. Afternoon naps and workout routines are thrown off, you’re heading to the arena at a weird time, heck even the vibe in the arena from an afternoon crowd is often different.
And of course, the Raptors are already playing generally poor basketball, no matter what time of day the game is!
If there’s any saving grace for the Raps and their fans, it’s that there’s a real chance for a win here today. The Blazers are also slumping, having won just 3 of their past 10 games. They lost to the Pacers in Indiana on Friday night, which means they likely spent last night in Toronto, perhaps hitting the clubs and staying out late...
Yeah. This game could be a mess — but that will quickly be forgotten if the Raptors can eke out a victory.
Lineup-wise, the Raptors are at full strength minus Otto Porter; Jusuf Nurkic is probable for the Blazers, with Gary Payton II, Nassir Little, Justise Winslow, and Ibou Badji out.
Where to watch:
TSN, 3:30 pm ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr., O.G. Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes
Portland Trail Blazers — Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Josh Hart, Jerami Grant, Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto Raptors — Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out)
Portland Trail Blazers — Nassir Little (head – out), Ibou Badji (not with team – out), Justise Winslow (ankle – out), Jusuf Nurkic (non-COVID illness – probably), Gary Payton II (ankle – probable)