The Toronto Raptors are in an interesting position despite being a 12th seed in the Eastern Conference. Following the NBA All-Star Break, it seemed like this team’s roster was only five or six men deep. Since then, this team has forged legit NBA rotation players out of Chris Boucher, Malachi Flynn, Yuta Watanabe, and the recently added centre duo of Khem Birch and Freddie Gillespie. With the full Raptors roster expected to return tonight versus the Brooklyn Nets, the one question mark is Gary Trent Jr.
Similar to Norman Powell, the Raptors organization will have to determine whether Trent will lead the bench or round out the starting five. Given his defensive prowess, and the organization’s apparent desire to slide down the standings, it will be interesting to see where Nick Nurse moves Gary Trent Jr. for the final stretch of the season.
Contrary to their game against the Thunder, this Raptors win was fuelled by the performances of the team’s reunited stars. The Toronto Raptors have had a muddled post-trade deadline stretch where players have been injured, rested, and rotated in-and-out of the lineup. In last night’s victory against the Brooklyn Nets, the Toronto Raptors looked as though their team had been placed in a cryogenic chamber – with no rust to show for it.
The most impressive part of the Raptors win was their centre depth. Khem Birch looked like a stud in the starting lineup. Finishing the game with a 8/7/3 stat line and one block, Birch was able to get offensive rebounds, contain the Nets offence, and move the ball. Freddie Gillespie was a defensive monster – putting up five blocks in 24 min of action.
In other Raptors news, Chris Boucher left the game with a left knee sprain in the fourth quarter and did not return.
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