Pre-game news & notes: Miles out, VanVleet returns, Brown makes mid-season All-G League

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The Toronto Raptors are back home, and they’re hoping that their 19-4 record at the Air Canada Centre helps them get back on the winning track. Thursday night brought another tough, close loss, this time to the Washington Wizards, and the visiting Portland Trail Blazers offer no easy bounce-back test. The Raptors are on the second night of a back-to-back, while the Blazers come in a little better rested and having won seven of their last eight.

It was hard to get a vibe on the Raptors after last night’s loss, as there was no shootaround in a back-to-back scenario and media availability was bumped a little later due to a pre-game walk-through. You could probably guess what they’d have to say.

The matchup is pretty familiar at this point, even though Raptors-Blazers has had an odd penchant for one team missing a star. It’s two of the best offensive backcourts in the league head-to-head, two beefy centers banging in the middle, and two defenses that have surprised with their early season success. Toronto has the edge on offense overall, though the Blazers shoot a lower volume of threes much more effectively. Portland is also a much better defensive rebounding team, a potential storyline here given that both teams are top-10 offensive rebounding outfits. It should be another nice test in a pre-All-Star stretch that’s brought a lot of them.

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

Raptors updates
Fred VanVleet has been removed from the injury report after staying behind on the road-trip to spend time with his newborn daughter. C.J. Miles is still being listed as questionable after missing the last two games with knee soreness. If Miles can’t go, Norman Powell figures to get a third game in a row to continue making a case for more time in the rotation. VanVleet’s return has sent Lorenzo Brown back to Raptors 905.

Check back before tip off for a Miles update.

UPDATE: Miles is out for a third consecutive game.

PG: Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell
SF: OG Anunoby, Alfonzo McKinnie
PF: Serge Ibaka, Pascal Siakam
C: Jonas Valanciunas, Jakob Poeltl, Lucas Nogueira
OUT: C.J. Miles
TBD: None
905: Malcolm Miller, Bruno Caboclo, Lorenzo Brown

Trail Blazers updates
The Blazers are expecting to have a full rotation available, although three of their players have statuses up in the air. Jusuf Nurkic and Meyers Leonard are both probable, so the frontcourt rotation would appear to be set. Maurice Harkless is questionable, which would take away one of Portland’s better options to throw at DeMar DeRozan. The Blazers have some decent depth up and down the lineup regardless, especially since Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton have turned out to be productive bench players.

Check back before tip-off for an update on those three up-in-the-air names.

UPDATE: Nurkic will play and start.

UPDATE II: Harkless and Leonard are listed as active.

PG: Damian Lillard, Shabazz Napier
SG: C.J. McCollum, Pat Connaughton
SF: Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, Jake Layman
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu, Ed Davis, Noah Vonleh
C: Jusuf Nurkic, Meyers Leonard, Zach Collins
OUT: None
TBD: None
G-League (no affiliate): C.J. Wilcox, Wade Baldwin, Caleb Swanigan


  • Instead of doing All-Star teams, the G League announced Midseason All-G League Teams on Friday. Lorenzo Brown was, somewhat surprisingly, the only Raptors 905 representative named to the team. You can find the full teams here.
    • The G League All-Star event will see one team of G League All-Stars take on the Mexico national team. That roster is yet to be announced.
    • Raptors 905 play at 7 p.m. tomorrow night in Erie. We’ll have the usual coverage for you. Bruno Caboclo, Lorenzo Brown, and Malcolm Miller are with the 905 while Alfonzo McKinnie is hanging back with the Raptors.
  • Over at The Athletic, I wrote about the team’s late-game play in the last two games, which has been encouraging while also frutrating. RR readers can get 20 percent off a subscription here.
  • Toronto and Ottawa will host Canada’s FIBA World Cup 2019 qualifiers for the June-July segment of the schedule. Canada will host Dominican Republic on June 29 at Ricoh Coliseum and then host U.S. Virgin Islands on July 2 at TD Place. Canada’s next qualifiers go in February in the Bahamas.
  • The Raptors are holding another gameday design contest:

  • The Last Two Minute Report from Raptors-Wizards shows the following:
    • Missed defensive three seconds call on Kyle Lowry at 1:47.
    • Missed travel on Markieff Morris at 1:13.
    • Missed travel on Otto Porter at 1:00.
    • Missed foul on Jonas Valanciunas (fouling Morris) at 0:45.
    • Missed travel on Serge Ibaka at 0:37.
    • Incorrect foul call on Bradley Beal (fouling Lowry) at 0:12.
    • Missed offensive foul on Serge Ibaka at 0:05.
    • Missed foul call on Lowry at 0:01.

The line
The Raptors are 4.5-point favorites, up slightly from Raptors -4. The over-under is at 214.5.

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