Thursday, March 30, 2023
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NBA Preview: New Orleans Pelicans (30-29) at Toronto Raptors (28-31)

Raptors hope All-Star break did not stifle momentum, host Pelicans The Toronto Raptors will play the visiting New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night with the goal of continuing where they left off during the break.

The Raptors will finish a five-game homestand on Thursday after winning two straight and five of their last six games.

After dropping two of their previous three games, including a road defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 15 (120-102), the Pelicans will be looking to rebound from their recent struggles.

On February 14, the Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 123-113 to advance to the break. In his third game and second start with Toronto, Jakob Poeltl, who was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs before the deadline for trades, scored 30 points, grabbed nine rebounds, and blocked six shots.

Against the Pelicans, the Raptors will likely have some injured players back in the lineup.

With Gary Trent Jr. (calf strain), who has missed the past two games, and Thaddeus Young (knee strain), who left the game against the Lakers because of a sprained wrist, O.G. Anunoby is expected to return to the lineup.

The Raptors, according to their coach Nick Nurse, appeared “good, healthy, and ready to go.”

He hasn’t decided which player will start against the Pelicans yet.

The Raptors were in the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference, ranked 10th going into the break. They are four and a half games behind the sixth-place New York Knicks and two games ahead of the Chicago Bulls.

With star forward Zion Williamson out for several more weeks due to a hamstring strain, the Pelicans went into the winter break in seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Pelicans are 10-19 in their remaining 12 games played on the road.

The Pelicans traded Josh Richardson for Devonte’ Graham before the deadline.

On November 30, the Pelicans defeated the Raptors 126-108 at home.

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