Friday night in New Orleans the Raptors will try to get back on track after a couple of tough defeats to streaking teams in the Detroit Pistons and Houston Rockets. The Pelicans come into Friday night as the winners of three of their last four games, but will be missing Jrue Holiday with an abdominal strain, which will be a significant loss for the team.
Toronto will need to find some way to mitigate the bench lineups that have been struggling of late, and pressure will be on Nick Nurse as he looks for solutions for those minutes. The starters have largely played well, whether that’s with Serge Ibaka or Marc Gasol in at the center spot, but the bench units have almost entirely struggled regardless of center. While the rotation in the middle remains something to keep an eye on for the team, that likely isn’t the solution for solving the bench woes.
The Pelicans are almost assuredly out of the playoff race at this point in the season, and have been playing the role of spoiler since the trade deadline, with solid victories over the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz on a recent road trip. Motivated lottery teams can be tough tests at this point in the season, as the players on those rosters are looking to prove themselves heading into the offseason, and the Raptors will have to avoid playing down to a weaker opponent in this game. As well, All-Star Anthony Davis is expected to play in this game, but is currently on a minutes restriction that will limit him to 20 minutes a night.
For Toronto this game kicks off a three-game road trip that will have them in Miami and Cleveland next, and an opportunity to develop some chemistry and rhythm as we get closer to the playoffs. A solid victory during which the Raptors flex their strengths as a team would be a welcome sight in New Orleans.
TV: Sportsnet Ontario and Sportsnet 1 | Radio: TheFan590 | Tipoff: 8PM EST
Fred VanVleet (thumb) is still out.
PG: Kyle Lowry, Jeremy Lin, Jordan Loyd
SG: Danny Green, Norman Powell
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Patrick McCaw, Malcolm Miller
PF: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby
C: Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Chris Boucher
Dairis Bertans(personal), Trevon Bluiett(thumb), Jrue Holiday(abdominal strain), and E’Twaun Moore(quad) are all listed as out. Jahlil Okafor is listed as questionable.
PG: Elfrid Payton, Frank Jackson
SG: Darius Miller, Ian Clark
SF: Kenrich Williams, Solomon Hill, Stanley Johnson
PF: Julius Randle, Cheick Diallo
C: Anthony Davis, Jahlil Okafor