It’s been an emotional six weeks for Raptors fans.
Long-time fan favourites in Siakam and Anunoby traded away, legends returning to Toronto in Lowry and DeRozan, and now a recently departed Raptor faces his old team tonight in Fred VanVleet.
The third game of a six game road trip, the Raptors head into Houston to take on the upstart Rockets. Tonight marks the first time VanVleet will play against the Raptors after leaving them in free agency this past summer for a three year, 129 million dollar contract with the Rockets.
The Toronto Raptors play Fred VanVleet and the Rockets tonight. It’s Fred’s first time playing the Raptors since signing with Houston pic.twitter.com/hwLeeYH6xB— UNINTERRUPTED Canada (@UNCanada) February 2, 2024
Raptors fans won’t have to wait very long until VanVleet returns to Toronto either, with the Raptors hosting Houston one week from today in their first game back from their road trip. Think of tonight as an emotional warm up for next week.
Getting back to the game, tonight also marks the first time Toronto will play against Canadian national team forward — and self-proclaimed NBA villain — Dillon Brooks. The Mississauga native was the story of the game in Houston’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week, re-igniting his contentious rivalry with LeBron James.
Brooks may be guarding fellow Mississauga native and national team teammate RJ Barrett tonight, as the Raptors swingman is listed as questionable after missing their win over Chicago three nights ago.
For Toronto, the injury report will be a key watch as we grow closer to game time. Despite picking up the comeback win against the Bulls, the Raptors were missing three starters in Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Jakob Poeltl. All currently listed as questionable for tonight, their return would greatly improve Toronto’s odds of winning, especially with Jontay Porter out after suffering a lower back injury in the aforementioned win.
How to Watch:
Sportsnet at 8:00 pm ET
Toronto: Immanuel Quickley, Gary Trent Jr., RJ Barrett, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl
Houston: Fred VanVleet, Jalen Green, Dillon Brooks, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun
Toronto: RJ Barrett (questionable - knee), Jakob Poeltl (questionable - ankle), Jontay Porter (out - back), Immanuel Quickley (questionable - quad)
Houston: Steven Adams (out - trade pending), Tari Eason (out - leg), Alperen Sengun (questionable - illness)