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Pre-game news & notes: DeRozan in, Patterson out against Clippers

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If it feels like you’ve been watching a lot of Toronto Raptors basketball of late, imagine how the team must feel. And also, I’m so sorry, because it hasn’t been the greatest of weeks (or months) for the team. It still beats doing a lot of other things with your time, though. Anyway, tonight marks the team’s fifth game in seven days as the Los Angeles Clippers visit, and I’ll share this graphic from the pre-game once again to highlight just how heavy a stretch it’s already been.

Given how poorly they’ve played of late, the Raptors probably aren’t willing to use fatigue as an excuse for any game. It is a reality, though, one the tired Raptors just have to play through tonight. At least the Clippers are on a back-to-back, too. It would be interesting to hear Dwane Casey’s message to the locker room, and whether they talk about powering through the fatigue or ignore it entirely. He didn’t give much away in that regard before the game except to point out that everyone is going through that and injuries this time of year.

The game tips off at 7:30 on TSN and Sportsnet 590. You can check out the full game preview here.

Raptors updates
DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Patterson were both listed as questionable once again, and the lack of a shootaround (because of the back-to-back situation) meant to update until Dwane Casey’s pre-game media availability. Unfortunately, a walk-through in place of shootaround has pushed that availability to 6:15, a little later than usual, so you’ll have to check back for updates.

As covered in the pre-game, if DeRozan can’t go, Norman Powell will continue to start and see a steady diet of touches, with Terrence Ross tasked with providing a bigger scoring punch off the bench. If Patterson can’t go, the power forward position will remain extremely fluid, with small lineups, Lucas Nogueira, Pascal Siakam, and Jared Sullinger all candidates to fill some of the 48 minutes.

UPDATE: DeRozan will return, while Patterson will sit again. Powell then shifts to a bench role, allowing the Raptors more options going small. That could be necessary, as Patterson’s absence leaves a gaping hole at the four. Patterson, by the way, is dealing with a different injury than the one that sidelined him before. Same knee, separate issue, although they’re likely related. No word on who starts yet, but the guess here is Nogueira. (Siakam is listed as the starter, but that’s usually subject to change.)

PG: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Cory Joseph
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell
SF: DeMarre Carroll, Terrence Ross
PF: Pascal Siakam, Lucas Nogueira
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Jared Sullinger, Jakob Poeltl
TBD: None
ASSIGNED: Bruno Caboclo, Delon Wright
OUT: Patrick Patterson

Clippers updates
The Clippers remain without Chris Paul and Brice Johnson, while Diamond Stone is on assignment.

PG: Raymond Felton
SG: J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford
SF: Austin Rivers, Luc Mbah a Moute, Wesley Johnson, Alan Anderson
PF: Blake Griffin, Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce
C: DeAndre Jordan, Mo Speights
TBD: None
ASSIGNED: Diamond Stone
OUT: Chris Paul, Brice Johnson

Assorted

  • Delon Wright and Bruno Caboclo were both with Raptors 905 for practice Monday. The 905 hit the road for a game on Tuesday, and it’s conceivable both players will be with the team then. Caboclo isn’t likely to be recalled much over the next while, so long as the parent club stays somewhat healthy, and Wright is still waiting for an opportunity to get NBA minutes with Fred VanVleet playing well in Wright’s perceived role. Until I physically see them here, I’ll assume they hit the road with the 905.
    • UPDATE: Both are on the road with the 905.
  • Speaking of the 905, Edy Tavares was named to the All-Star Game today.
  • Jahlil Okafor is reportedly close to being dealt to New Orleans for Alexis Ajinca and a protected first-round pick. I share this because a lot of people wonder about Jonas Valanciunas’ trade value, and I think an Okafor deal informs Valanciunas’ potential market. Valanciunas is a better, more established player at this point, but he also costs about three times as much (although he does have two extra years on his deal). In other words, if you have scenarios in mind where Valanciunas is routed somewhere, mute your expectations on the return, unless the market for Nikola Vucevic reveals something new.

The line
The Raptors have held fairly steady around 6-point favorites (they opened at -5 but it jumped quickly), with the over-under inching up from 213 to 215. The DeRozan news has bumped the line to Raptors -6.5, and the over-under has edged even higher to 216. DeImpact!

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