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Charlotte Hornets v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Charlotte Hornets — Start Time, Lineups, Injuries and More

Can Toronto end their losing skid and perhaps get their first win of the month?

The Toronto Raptors and the Charlotte Hornets are back for their third meeting this season. The first two games ended in a split. The Hornets upset the visiting Raptors, 119-116, in their first meeting early in December. The Raptors hosted the Hornets ten days later and returned the favour, 114-99.

Tonight’s game will probably feel like the first meeting between two teams, with both teams making deals these past few weeks that significantly altered their team’s composition. The last time these two teams met, Pascal Siakam, Terry Rozier, and OG Anunoby played heavy minutes for these two teams. Meanwhile, rookie Brandon Miller is on a tear:

The Hornets will face RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley for the first time as a Raptor tonight. At the same time, Miles Bridges missed the game in Toronto after the Canadian Border Services denied him entry due to his felony charge.

There’s a bit of an update since this morning’s injury report. Jontay Porter got downgraded to “doubtful,” so it would be a surprise to see him on the floor tonight. Trent Jr. was listed as “questionable” earlier, but is good to go for tonight’s game. On the Hornets’ side, Gordon Hayward and Frank Ntilikina got downgraded to “out,” but Cody Martin got upgraded to “available.”

As reported earlier, Lamelo Ball, Mark Williams, and Kyle Lowry’s contract won’t be active for tonight’s game.

Keys to the game

Be Aggressive: The Raptors are on their third game in four nights. Still, they should be well rested after getting much earlier respite against the New Orleans Pelicans the other night. The Hornets are tanking, but the visiting Raptors must punch early and force them into submission as early as possible.

Limit Turnovers: The Raptors are third-worst in turnovers over the last five games at 15.6 giveaways per game, while the Hornets are 2nd-worst in field goal percentage during that stretch. They have to protect the ball, not give the Hornets easy baskets, and make the game more difficult for themselves.

Utilize the All-Star: Remember that copy/pasta “Kyle Lowry ain’t no spot up shooter, he ain’t gotta run to the corner to shoot like he’s some 3rd option...”? Scottie Barnes is an All-Star, and the basketball world knows he’s not best served as a spot-up shooter. Heck, the front office traded OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam while letting Fred VanVleet go earlier so that this kid is not being stashed in the corner regularly, so why are we going back to low utility these past couple of games?

How to Watch:

Sportsnet ONE at 7:00 pm ET

Lineups:

Toronto: Immanuel Quickley, Gary Trent Jr., RJ Barrett, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl

Charlotte: Ish Smith, Brandon Miller, Leaky Black, Miles Bridges, Nick Richards

Injuries:

Toronto: Jontay Porter (Questionable — Back)

Charlotte: LaMelo Ball (Out — Ankle), Mark Williams (Out — Back), Frank Ntilikina (Out — Hip), Gordon Hayward (Out — Calf), Amari Bailey (Out — NBA GL), Kyle Lowry’s Contract (Out — Not With Team)

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