If it wasn’t clear already, it should be by now: the Raptors are just playing out the string on their 2020-21 season. I realize I may have sounded a different alarm just this past Thursday, but now here we are. The Grizzlies are in Tampa, and Toronto is being cautious with a few of its players — three by my count — while dealing with a few more noteworthy, and apparently more serious, injuries. Let’s not dwell on that anymore.
Toronto’s opponent tonight, Memphis, is still in the mix. They’re ninth in the Western Conference, which is not bad for a team still searching for its identity — I mean, an identity beyond being the youngest team in the NBA. They’ve got some rising stars, like Ja Morant and the recently returned Jaren Jackson Jr., but it hasn’t all quite come together yet for the Grizzlies. (I do enjoy that Jonas Valanciunas is now their veteran presence; time is a funny thing.) They’ll make the play-in games this time around and maybe go a bit further than that — but then it’s off to next year with more experience under their collective belt.
The Raptors have been there before, doing the grind up the conference standings — and achieving ultimately much more than that. It’s gotten so the novelty has worn off. Now they aren’t doing it just for the sake of doing it. This year’s Raptors were dealt a bad hand, played it as best they could, and then knew when it was just time to fold and walk away. The actives players tonight will play hard, but absent much of their core manpower, well… we’ll see where that gets them.
In any case, here’s the full preview from Satbir from this morning. Below are the updates game details. Now, let’s watch.
Where to Watch
TSN at 7:30pm EST
Toronto – Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., Yuta Watanabe, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch
Memphis – Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jonas Valanciunas
Toronto – Kyle Lowry (rest – OUT), Fred VanVleet (hip – OUT), OG Anunoby (calf – OUT), Chris Boucher (knee – OUT), Paul Watson Jr. (knee – OUT), Aron Baynes (foot – OUT)
Memphis – Grayson Allen (abdominal – OUT), Sean McDermott (foot – OUT)