The Toronto Raptors (6-3) are back home Friday night for another rookie dual between Toronto’s Scottie Barnes and Cleveland Cavaliers (5-4) forward Evan Mobley, picked third overall in the 2021 NBA Draft.
What to Watch For
- The Raptors will have Scottie Barnes back in the lineup after two games sidelined with a right thumb sprain.
- Barnes and his rookie counterpart Mobley have been two of the most impressive rookies this season. The Cavaliers’ 7-foot forward is averaging 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a block, and he’s leading the NBA in shot contests.
- Speaking of Mobley, Cleveland has gone a little old school this season with a twin towers approach, playing two, sometimes three 6-foot-11 or 7-footers on the court together. But what makes Mobley and Jarrett Allen so special isn’t just the size, it’s their quickness and ability to defend multiple positions, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
“They’re long and they’re bouncy and they contest and block shots, but they’ve also got good feet and they’re not afraid to go out there and guard,” Nurse said Thursday.
Just two nights ago, Allen shut down Damian Lillard on the perimeter in the final seconds of the Cavaliers 107-104 victory over the Trail Blazers.
- Despite all that size, though, the Cavaliers have not been a very good defensive rebounding team this season and their mediocre transition defense should allow Toronto to get up a ton of extra shots.
Where to Watch
Sportsnet 1 will broadcast the game on TV and Sportsnet 590 The Fan will call the game on the radio.
The Raptors will be without Pascal Siakam and Yuta Watanabe.
The Cavaliers will be without Isaac Okoro and Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen who are both in COVID-19 Health and Safety protocols.
The Raptors are -5.5 point favorites on SI Sportsbook. The total for the game is 212.5.