Raptors News

Pre-game news and notes: Leonard out, Gasol questionable, Noah out

Some stuffs!

(Brandon Dill/AP)

More bad news out of Memphis’ camp ahead of the matchup tonight in Toronto. Yesterday, Shams reported that Memphis owner Robert Pena met with Marc Gasol and Mike Conley met earlier this week to discuss “the state of the team.” Both played 36 minutes yesterday against the Boston Celtics, and both played relatively well. Gasol recorded 11 rebounds and 12 assists (though only 4 points), and Conley hit 26 points. Now Gasol is being ruled questionable with back soreness, as reported by Blake Murphy.

Toronto is slowly returning to health. After initially being ruled out against the Phoenix Suns for rest, Kyle Lowry decided to play to set the team right after a loss to the Celtics. He’s said that his poor shooting is more the result of conditioning than lingering injury, and his playing is the best way to return to proper fitness levels. Even though he’s been shooting poorly, his game is much more than scoring, and he’s been playing fantastically otherwise. The hope is that the further distant we move past his injury, the more Lowry’s shot rounds into form.

The Raptors could use a win to return to the top of the Eastern Conference. At 34-13, they sit 0.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for first place, and they’re only 3.5 games ahead of the Indiana Pacers. Toronto is 8-2 in their last 10, but their last few wins over Phoenix and Washington haven’t been as convincing as has become expected by Toronto’s level of dominance this season. On the surface, Memphis would look like easy pickings. Memphis is 19-26, 14th in the Western Conference, and a full 5 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for a playoff spot.

You can read the full preview here. It includes a conversation with Joe Mullinax of SB Nation’s Grizzly Bear Blues, and he is exceedingly unhappy with Memphis right now. The game tips at 7:30 EST on Sportsnet One for TV and TSN1050 for radio.

Toronto updates:

Not much to report yet. It looks like the full complement other than Anunoby (personal) and Valanciunas (injury). No word on Jordan Loyd or Chris Boucher yet, although they are playing this afternoon for the Raptors 905 (tip is at 2 pm). Even if they are called up, they certainly won’t be relied upon for heavy minutes.

Update: Kawhi Leonard will sit again for load management.

PG: Kyle Lowry, Delon Wright

SG: Fred Van Vleet, Norman Powell, Patrick Mccaw

SF: Danny Green, CJ Miles, Malachi Richardson

PF: Pascal Siakam

C: Serge Ibaka, Greg Monroe

Memphis Updates:

If Gasol and Noah are both out, does Memphis finally start Jackson at center? That would be fun and nice to see for his development, as Jackson looks like he could be the real thing.

PG: Mike Conley, Jevon Carter, Shelvin Mack

SG: Garrett Temple, Julian Washburn

SF: Justin Holiday, Omri Cassipi

PF: Jaren Jackson Jr., JaMychal Green,  Yutu Watanabe

C: Marc Gasol (questionable), Ivan Rabb

Assorted:

  • Ken Berger over at Bleacher Report wrote that “The Raptors have made it known in front-office circles that they’re interested in adding an elite shooting guard, rival executives say.” He goes on to say that Delon Wright, Jonas Valanciunas, and first-round pick could be the offer for Bradley Beal, though it’s important to note that the specific deal is only described as potentially a starting place and not a real framework that’s in place or anything like that. Like all the Beal-to-Toronto chatter so far, this is probably nothing, but it’s worth keeping an eye as we move towards the trade deadline.
  • Former 905 head coach Jerry Stackhouse will make his first return to Toronto since signing as an assistant coach in Memphis over the summer. Here’s a really fun piece from the Athletic’s Omari Sankofa II from about a month ago. It includes a great detail of Mike Conley refusing to play Stackhouse in one-on-one:
    • “I​ don’t play​ him, man​ I​​ don’t play him,” Conley said, laughing. “I don’t want no problems.”He and Stackhouse have played one pickup basketball game against each other. That game, which took place during training camp in September, was enough for Conley. Stackhouse took it more seriously than he anticipated.“After that I left him alone, man,” Conley said. “I don’t need to mess around with him. He’ll play you all night.”
  • The NBA Coaches’ Association put out a fun video about Nick Nurse a few days ago.

The Line:

Vegas has Toronto at -13 tonight, which feels believable, especially with Gasol potentially not suiting up. With news droppin recently that Kawhi isn’t playing, the line may close a little. The over-under is 212.

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