In a dead heat with the Atlanta Hawks in the standings and with five games left in the regular season, the last thing the Toronto Raptors would want are must-win games against Boston and Milwaukee in their last three games before the Play-In Tournament begins. That turns up the intensity on this back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets, who have been perky, 4-6 in their last 10, despite being eliminated from playoff contention.
You’ll be getting familiar with some new names on the Hornets this afternoon, a precursor to another matchup on Tuesday night in Charlotte. The top seven rotation players for the Hornets are all out with various injuries — LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, Kelly Oubre, P.J. Washington — if you can think of them, they’re not playing!
INJURY REPORT vs TOR— Charlotte Hornets (@hornets) April 2, 2023
Ball (R Ankle Surgery) out.
Martin (L Knee Soreness) out.
Rozier (R Foot Discomfort) out.
Hayward (L Thumb Sprain) out.
Oubre Jr. (R Shoulder Strain) out.
Smith Jr. (R Great Toe Sprain) out.
Washington (R Foot Sprain) out.
Presented by @NovantHealth pic.twitter.com/7FgSIrwWQ6
On the Raptors side, a first half meltdown to the Sixers leaving them down 20 is really the only blemish on what’s been a solid week. Three straight wins over the Pistons, Wizards and Miami have bolstered their positioning and kept them in the fight with the Hawks for at least one post-season game at Scotiabank Arena.
Still, the vibes don’t match the basketball. Nick Nurse’s comments about his future with the team before Friday’s game still feel like a bit of a blindside, even though we’ve known inner turmoil has been a key factor in Toronto’s lacklustre performance this season. Late game execution and who the lead man is in those situations is still a storyline too, as the Raptors again struggled to get good offense going during a furious comeback in Philly. These two games might not be close enough to sort anything out there, but we’re just over a week away from having to think seriously about where the ball is going and what the play call is.
Anyway! Get set for this nooner with the game details below and join us in the comments.
Where to Watch:
Sportsnet One, 1 PM ET
Toronto Raptors – Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl
Charlotte Hornets – Théo Maledon, Svi Mykhailiuk, Bryce McGowens, JT Thor, Mark Williams
Toronto Raptors – Will Barton (ankle – out), Gary Trent Jr. (elbow, back – out), Otto Porter Jr. (knee – out)
Charlotte Hornets – LaMelo Ball (ankle – out), Cody Martin (knee – out), Terry Rozier (foot – out), Gordon Hayward (thumb – out), Kelly Oubre Jr. (shoulder – out), Dennis Smith Jr. (toe – out), Dennis Smith Jr. (toe – out), P.J. Washington Jr. (foot – out)