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Phoenix Suns v Toronto Raptors

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Toronto Raptors vs Phoenix Suns: Preview, TV Schedule, Injuries and more

Toronto’s 4th back-to-back of the season wraps up with a visit from the streaking Phoenix Suns

Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns come to town riding a 7-game win streak. All 7 wins came after Bradley Beal re-injured his back, while the last 2 were without Kevin Durant. The win streak also includes 3 In-Season Tournament games, as Phoenix was able to grab the Western Conference wild-card spot. The Suns will travel to Los Angeles next week to face the Lakers in the IST quarterfinals.

Toronto’s In-Season Tournament ended with a whimper as they fell to the Brooklyn Nets last night (squandering an opportunity to eliminate the Celtics). The Raptors finished group play with a 1-3 record and now play the Miami Heat and Charlotte Hornets next week.

With the defending champion Denver Nuggets awaiting them in Phoenix on Friday, it wouldn’t be a complete shock if the Suns opted to rest Kevin Durant (foot) and Grayson Allen (illness) for another game. Both are currently listed as questionable.

How to Watch:

TSN at 7:30 p.m. ET

Lineups:

Toronto: Dennis Schroder, Pascal Siakam, O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl

Phoenix: Devin Booker, Eric Gordon, Josh Okogie, Keita Bates-Diop, Jusuf Nurkic

Injuries:

Toronto: Christian Koloko (respiratory; out), Gradey Dick (G-League; out)

Phoenix: Bradley Beal (back; out), Damion Lee (knee; out), Nassir Little (personal; out), Grayson Allen (illness; questionable), Kevin Durant (foot; questionable)

No setting on these Suns

There’s no denying the outstanding first quarter of the season that Kevin Durant has produced. He’s on pace to join LeBron James as the only other player in NBA history, aged 35 or older, to score at least 30 points in a season. KD is also knocking on the door of the hallowed 50/40/90 club, where only Steve Nash has more such seasons (4) as Durant (2...and counting?).

But there’s another 35-year-old on the team that’s quietly having a resurgence. Eric Gordon has stepped in admirably with Bradley Beal out and Devin Booker missing half of Phoenix’s games so far. If he can raise his 14.9 points scoring average to 15, he and Durant would generate the third season in NBA history where a team had more than one player averaging 15 points or more AND aged 35 or older.

The other two instances occurred in Houston. In 1998-99, Charles Barkley (16.1) and Hakeem Olajuwon (18.9) were the last duo to accomplish the feat. More impressively, the year prior, Houston had THREE players aged 35 or older and averaging at least 15 points: Kevin Willis (16.1), Olajuwon (16.4), and Clyde Drexler (18.4)!

A reunion of sorts

Two reunions will be highlighted on the broadcast: Yuta Watanabe playing his second game in Toronto since leaving the Raptors, and Devin Booker renewing pleasantries with The Raptor.

Watanabe signed with Brooklyn in 2022 after the Raptors let his contract expire. He missed 3 of the 4 meetings with Toronto, but hit a lead-changing three with 15 seconds left in his return game to Scotiabank Arena last season (Kyrie Irving would hit the game-winning buzzer-beater moments later).

We don’t need to revisit Booker’s history with The Raptor. It will be talked about ad nauseam on the broadcast.

Two under-the-radar reunions are also happening tonight. Drew Eubanks was part of the trade that brought Thaddeus Young (and eventually, Christian Koloko) to the Raptors. Eubanks was waived on the same day, never to experience the joy of donning a Raptors jersey.

The other reunion is John Lucas III, Suns Assistant Coach and former Toronto Raptor. He only played for one season in Toronto (2012-13), but played in more games that season than Jonas Valanciunas, Landry Fields, and Andrea Bargnani.

Invalid in the Valley

Dennis Schroder, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young, and Garrett Temple have combined to play for 49 seasons and collectively worn the jerseys of 20 different teams.

Not a single one of them has ever played for the Phoenix Suns!

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