The schedule is throwing the Raptors a bone, although they seem to be allergic to those this season.
Not only do the Rockets own the worst record on this road trip by far, but they are last in the West and only one loss away from matching Detroit for the league’s cellar. Houston also comes into this game depleted.
Should be a win then right? That’s why they play the games.
Raptors scope (23-30, 12th in East | Offensive rating: 10th | Defensive rating: 22nd)
The focus has to be on Pascal Siakam after being snubbed from his second all-star appearance.
This doesn’t help the vibes for anyone in a challenging season.
Yes, Siakam’s numbers are down lately possibly due to fatigue (21.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.3 apg on 40/25/80 splits over last four games) but it’s still laughable that Pascal has more All-NBA selections (two) than all-star nods. He’s potentially losing money for his next contract and probably will have extra motivation to have a breakout game. The criteria this time from the coaches was inconsistent, bizarre and maybe some goal posts were moved. Nothing Pascal can do about that now outside of being a replacement if called upon.
Rockets scope (13-38, 15th in West | Offensive rating: 29th | Defensive rating: 28th)
Why don’t we just ask the longest tenured Rocket what he thinks of the team’s direction?
The numbers don’t lie. 15-36 after 51 games last year. Two games shy of that “torrid” pace this year. Bottom three on both ends of the court. The worst shooting team from the field and second worst from three. Houston also ranks second last in assists per game. The team is extremely young though so these are expected growing pains. It’s also worth nothing that the Rockets have won their last two games.
Alperen Sengun is only 20 years old but he could be special. He’s coming off a stat stuffing January (18.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 6.2 apg on 62% FG). Expect the offence to run through him with Kevin Porter Jr. out, Jalen Green doubtful, and third overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. questionable.
Tip-Off: 8pm EST | TV: TSN 1/3/4/5 | Radio: TSN Radio 1050
No noticeable changes (for now). O.G. Anunoby (wrist) is out for the rest of the road trip. Otto Porter Jr’s season is over (toe).
PG: Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn, Dalano Banton
SG: Gary Trent Jr.
SF: Scottie Barnes, Juancho Hernangomez
PF: Pascal Siakam, Chris Boucher, Thaddeus Young
C: Precious Achiuwa, Christian Koloko, Khem Birch
There is no timetable on Kevin Porter Jr’s return from foot and toe injuries. Jalen Green (calf) is unlikely to play. Jabari Smith Jr. (hip) is questionable.
PG: Eric Gordon, Tyty Washington Jr.
SG: Daishen Nix, Garrison Mathews, Josh Christopher
SF: Kenyon Martin Jr, Jae’Sean Tate
PF: Jabari Smith Jr, Tari Eason, Usman Garuba
C: Alperen Sengun, Bruno Fernando, Boban Marjanovic
Raptors are favoured for the first time on this road trip, by six. Now up to eight as of 3pm. Over/Under is 225.
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