Routinely, before we begin — another reminder to join us at the Opening Night Watch Party – Sportsnet Bar & Grill. Tickets are only $20 and include a complimentary drink.
Come out and support your champions!
Cool news: This past Monday was Thanksgiving in Canada, and Kyle Lowry (who recently signed a one-year contract extension) continued tradition by providing Thanksgiving meals to over 250 Toronto families in need.
Kyle Lowry and his family will be serving hot Thanksgiving meals to 250 food-insecure families this week.
This is the fourth year the Lowry family (and Lowry Love Foundation) have done this.
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) October 13, 2019
Now to the game at hand, and without putting too much stock in the Raptors’ most recent preseason contest versus the Chicago Bulls — there remains a level of optimism in Toronto as Tuesday’s regular season opening creeps closer. Still, a final exhibition opponent awaits — the Brooklyn Nets. Operating under the assumption that rocks weren’t collectively being lived under, it’s established (and really at this point, notorious) that the Brooklyn Nets have undergone quite the transformation during an action-packed NBA offseason. With the star-studded acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan, the departure of D’Angelo Russell, all while keeping their young core intact (Harris, LeVert, Allen, Dinwiddie, Kurucs) — the Nets have reshaped their team identity, establishing themselves as bonafide NBA championship contenders.
Both teams will get an eventual crack at one another during the season, however this exhibition will be difficult to foresee exactly how the Raptors and Nets approach this.
Early reports from The Athletic NYC’s Alex Schiffer signal towards Kyrie Irving returning.
Kenny Atkinson expects Kyrie Irving to play in Friday’s preseason finale against the Toronto Raptors. “We’ll see if its his normal minutes."
— Alex Schiffer (@Alex__Schiffer) October 16, 2019
An obvious omission is Kevin Durant, who is slated to miss the entire regular season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in June’s 2019 NBA Finals. The prediction is that Kyrie Irving will have an extensive run Friday night, finally integrating himself into Kenny Atkinson’s offense. On the other side of the coin, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson makes his return to Barclays Center after departing the Nets for the defending-champion Raptors. He signed a one-year, vets minimum back in the summer — a great roll of the dice for Ujiri and Toronto. Just as recently as Tuesday, Hollis-Jefferson was called out publicly by head coach Nick Nurse for his lack of defense (a supposed strength of RHJ).
As for the Nets, an interesting tidbit has been the minute-share between DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen. After a trio of preseason games, minutes have been divided almost equally between the two. Allen has currently played only two more minutes than Jordan — pointing towards Atkinson’s open competition of the starting center position. For fans who aren’t caught up — recent Toronto signee, Matt Morgan will be an amusing watch as well (should he get on the floor).
Tipoff: 7:30 pm EST | TV: TSN2 | Radio: TSN 1050
Projected Raptors Lineup
PG: Fred VanVleet, Cameron Payne, Isaiah Taylor
SG: Norman Powell, Patrick McCaw, Terence Davis II, Matt Thomas, Matt Morgan
SF: OG Anunoby, Stanley Johnson, Malcolm Miller, Oshae Brissett,
PF: Pascal Siakam, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Devin Robinson
C: Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Chris Boucher, Dewan Hernandez
QUESTIONABLE: Kyle Lowry (thumb)
OUT: Patrick McCaw (knee)
Projected Nets Lineup
PG: Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, Devin Cannady, CJ Massinburg
SG: Joe Harris, Garrett Temple, Theo Pinson
SF: Caris LeVert, Wilson Chandler, David Nwaba
PF: Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, Dzanan Musa, Lance Thomas
C: Jarrett Allen, DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton, Henry Ellenson
OUT: Kevin Durant (achilles)