Matchup: Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns
Records: Raptors (42-18), Suns (24-37)
Where to Watch
Date: March 3, 2020
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet One (Canada), Fox Sports Arizona or NBA League Pass (USA)
Location: Talking Stick Resort Arena, Pheonix Arizona
Odds: Toronto -4.0, o/u 222.0
Both the Raptors and Suns come into Tuesday night's game sporting three-game losing streaks.
For the Raptors, they haven't been able to knock down shots since barely missing in the first half against the Milwaukee Bucks a week ago.
Injuries - as it has been all season - is once again a problem for the Raptors. Sunday's loss in Denver proved it with both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka on the sidelines Toronto didn't have an answer for Nikola Jokic.
"I just think it seems like it catches up with you just a little bit here and there, and that's kind of just the difference in tonight's game," Nick Nurse told reporters after Toronto's 133-118 loss to Denver Sunday. "Like, there's a putback here and putback there and just some pretty easy offence when (Nikola Jokic) just goes down and parks in front of the rim and they throw it into him.
"There's not much we can do because of the sheer size and strength of it."
A bigger issue than the injuries for the Raptors has been Pascal Siakam's play during the losing skid. Siakam is still averaging 20.7 points over the last three games a testament to his growth and evolution into an All-Star, but his points and counting stats haven't impacted the games the way the team has needed. He's also in the midst of a shooting slump that's seen his field goal percentage drop to 36% from the field and even worse just 65% from the free-throw line.
If the Raptors wish to avoid their first four-game losing streak since 2017, Siakam will need to have a big game - which he did the last time these two teams saw each other a couple of weeks ago.
The Suns come into Tuesday's game having blown an 18-point lead to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.
Phoenix's All-Star Devin Booker has also seen struggles from the field in his last three contests. He's shooting just 40% from the field and 31.6% from three. In the Suns' loss Saturday Booker went 6-for-16 from the field. They'll need much more out of Booker to overcome one of the best defences in the NBA.
Phoenix's playoff hopes are shrinking as the race for eighth in the Western Conference is heating up. They're currently six games back of the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the West. With 21 games left they hold the seventh toughest remaining schedule in the NBA.
The Raptors have 22 games remaining and have a magic number of three to clinch a playoff spot. Toronto's hold on the second seed in the East may be in jeopardy however as the hard-charging Boston Celtics are now just 0.5 games back. A loss on Tuesday could see the Raptors slip to third in the conference with the Celtics in action taking on the Nets.
- Marc Gasol (Hamstring) - Out
- Dewan Hernandez (Ankle) - Out
- Serge Ibaka (Knee) - Questionable
- Fred VanVleet (Shoulder) - Questionable
- Cam Johnson (Back) - Probable
- Kelly Oubre (Knee) - Out
- Frank Kaminsky (Knee) - Out
- OG Anunoby posted a career-high 32 points vs the Nuggets on Sunday. He became the first Raptor to record at least 30 points and seven steals in a single game
- Toronto leads the league in fast-break points per game (19.3)
- Terrence Davis has played 1,052 minutes this season. He becomes just the fourth undrafted rookie to play at least 1000 minutes in a season the Raptors. Jose Calderon (1,487 in 2005-06), Jorge Garbajosa (1,909 in 2006-07), Jamario Moon (2,166 in 2007-08).
- Deandre Ayton averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds in February, joining Amar'e Stoudemire (once), Shawn Marion (6 times), Charles Barkley (9 times), Truck Robinson (once) and Alvan Adams (once) as the only Suns players to average 20+ points and 12+ rebounds in a calendar month (min. 10 games)
- The Raptors have won 5 straight against the Suns, their longest streak in the series...The Suns have the longest overall in head-to-head game with Toronto (14 from 2004-2011)
Last Time They Played
Date: Feb 21, 2020
Score: Raptors 118, Suns 101
Raptors: Pascal Siakam - 37 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks
Suns: Devin Bookers - 21 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds
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