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Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets Matchup: Home Sweet Home

The Raptors return home after an abysmal 1-4 trip. Can they make one last push towards the postseason? They’ll need more from Pascal Siakam to do so.

Toronto Raptors v Denver Nuggets Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

I’ve lost track of the amount of times we’ve written about how an upcoming game or stretch of games is critical for the Toronto Raptors this season. Since the end of December, we’ve all been waiting for the team to make a push, and time and again, they've fallen short. After going 1-4 on their recent road trip, well, the Raptors are pretty much out of time.

I suppose, with 7 of their next 8 games at home, you can make the case this is a golden opportunity for the Raptors to get back above .500 and get into the upper half of the play-in tournament...

... but after a season of mediocrity, I’m keeping all expectations in check.

What I am expecting, though, is a bounce back performance from Pascal Siakam tonight. On the recent five-game road trip, Siakam averaged a mere 15.8 point, 5.6 rebounds and 5 assists. Those aren’t terrible numbers by any stretch, but they’re all below Siakam’s season averages prior to the trip (25.7/7.7/6.0), and furthermore, Siakam looked oddly passive throughout the trip. He’s still having one of the all-time great Raptors seasons, but the Raptors need an aggressive Siakam scoring from all three levels, and getting to the free throw line, to be successful.

As for their opponents tonight, I don’t have to tell you what happened last time. If they Raptors can keep the same energy tonight that they brought last time, and if they crowd can sustain them through any lulls, they might have a chance to pull off the upset, and that might be the spark that gets them going for the final run...

Dammit, I’m talking myself into it again! Sigh.

Anyway, lineup-wise, Jamal Murray will play tonight despite a sore knee (“no way in hell he was missing this one,” Mike Malone said pre-game); the injury reports are relatively clean otherwise, with only Zeke Nnaji and Dalano Banton missing this one.

Can the Raptors restore my optimism and reward my hope? Let’s watch!

Where to Watch:

Sportsnet One, 7:30pm EST


Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl

Denver Nuggets – Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic


Toronto Raptors– Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out), Dalano Banton (thumb – out)

Denver Nuggets – Zeke Nnaji (shoulder – out)