Alright so last night was ugly for Toronto. This could explain some of that mess where the Raptors trailed by as many as 32 points in OKC.
But today is a new day. Moving on!
The Raptors and Pacers face off in the second leg of a back to back for Toronto. So far the Raptors are 0-2 in that scenario this season and will have to win to remain above .500.
Raptors scope (7-6 | Offensive rating: 7th | Defensive rating: 13th)
One horrible defensive game saw the Raptors fall from seventh to 13th in defensive rating. Woof. If the entire team is sick, then playing the very next night is exactly what the doctor didn’t order. A bright spot is that Chris Boucher filled up the boxscore with 20 points and 12 rebounds after a few subpar games.
Judging from fans on twitter, the people want to see a bounce back game from Scottie Barnes the most. First of all, I’m still skeptical if Scottie is 100 percent. But some have noticed the intensity fluctuates game to game, which puts a cap on his potential. Not a major red flag yet but something to note.
Toronto is 2-2 without Pascal Siakam.
Pacers scope (5-6 | Offensive rating: 9th | Defensive rating: 28th)
Indiana has been fun for Canadians because of rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, along with Oshae Brissett in spot minutes. Mathurin especially has taken the league by storm, averaging 20.4 points in zero starts, all off the bench. This is unheard of production for a rookie reserve, as the sixth overall pick is in the conversation for both Rookie of the Year (Paolo Banchero has a strong rebuttal to that) and Sixth Man of the Year.
Picking on Denver again, but check out Mathurin’s instant offence first half on Wednesday where he scored 23 of his 30 points (broadcast said 24 by accident).
How’s this for consistency? Mathurin has only one single digit scoring game this season. He’s already posted three games of at least five threes made, and has hit the 30 point mark twice.
Meanwhile Nembhard has started two games, including a season-high 15 points in his first career start against the Pelicans on Monday. Not bad for a second round pick!
Just to be clear though, this is Tyrese Haliburton’s team. He looks to be on track to make his first all-star team in his third season if Indiana can remain competitive, averaging 21.6 points and 9.9 assists (2nd in the NBA). Haliburton is also flirting with the 50-40-90 club (50-45-87). The Kings will continue to be judged for the Domantas Sabonis trade, although Sabonis has also been solid in Sacramento.
Tip-Off: 7pm EST | TV: Sportsnet One / 4K | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
Fred VanVleet (non-COVID illness) is questionable. Pascal Siakam (groin), Precious Achiuwa (ankle) and Khem Birch (knee) are all out. Justin Champagnie and Ron Harper Jr. are with the Raptors 905. Jeff Dowtin Jr. is back with the Raptors
*UPDATE: VanVleet has been downgraded to OUT*
PG: Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, Malachi Flynn, Jeff Dowtin Jr.
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: O.G. Anunoby
PF: Otto Porter Jr, Chris Boucher, Juancho Hernangomez
C: Thaddeus Young, Christian Koloko
Chris Duarte (Grade 2 ankle sprain) is out for the next 3-5 weeks. Daniel Theis (knee) is out indefinitely after having surgery.
PG: Tyrese Haliburton, T.J. McConnell
SG: Andrew Nembhard, Bennedict Mathurin
SF: Buddy Hield, Aaron Nesmith, Terry Taylor
PF: Jalen Smith, Isaiah Jackson, Oshae Brissett, James Johnson
C: Myles Turner, Goga Bitadze
Indiana is favoured by two points. Over/Under is at 229.