The Toronto Raptors welcome a true favourite back into the Scotiabank Arena in Fred VanVleet and his Houston Rockets.
It’s a battle of below .500 teams that many expected to be right where they are. In their first game since the trade deadline has passed, the Raptors continued down their coursed direction as sellers who are intent on collecting assets that they can either shape and mould (Ochai Agbaji) or potentially flip during the draft/offseason (Kelly Olynyk, Bruce Brown, Chris Boucher and Gary Trent Jr.). Now, it remains to be seen what happens with those latter mentioned players, but in the interim, they will remain Raptors who will scrap and claw for some wins and some more losses — likely.
Speaking of results of games played, Toronto is all set to take on the Houston Rockets who are making their way to the Scotiabank Arena for the first and only time this season. While the Raptors and Toronto faithful will get a good look at self-professed heel and Canadian Dillon Brooks, they, unfortunately, will not get to welcome Fred VanVleet back in uniform due to an adductor strain that will keep him out of tonight’s matchup. Though he’s not playing tonight, you can bet that Fred VanVleet will receive a big ovation from the Big Bank crowd. Or, at least he better.
As for the product on the floor, it remains to be seen how these Raptors will look after selling off two pieces in Dennis Schroeder and Thaddeus Young, who had been playing significant minutes with the injuries Toronto had been dealing with. The most important question in the “how will these Raptors look” area will be at the point guard position. As it stands, Immanuel Quickley is the only PG on the roster, and even he could be considered more of a combo SG than a true PG — much like Bruce Brown. Will Raptors fans finally be treated to full-time Scottie Barnes at the point? Can they manage to keep Scottie as a roaming defender in the middle of the floor where he’s more effective as opposed to on an island guarding quicker guards on the perimeter? Will this team continue to find chemistry now that the deadline has passed and they can focus on basketball?
These and many more questions remain as Toronto and Houston gear up for tonight’s game. Tune in!
How to Watch
7:30pm ET on Sportsnet
Toronto: Immanuel Quickley, Gary Trent Jr. RJ Barrett, Scottie Barnes, Jakob Poeltl
Houston: Amen Thompson, Jalen Green, Dilllon Brooks, Jabari Smith Jr., Alperen Sengun
Toronto: Jontay Porter (back — questionable)
Houston: Steven Adamas (knee — out), Tari Eason (leg — out), Fred VanVleet (adductor — out)