The Toronto Raptors look to rebound Friday night against the Houston Rockets in Tampa after dropping their last two games. Toronto will strive to hand the Rockets their 10th straight loss.
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Friday’s game marks the first matchup this season between the squads, with the Rockets fielding a much different team than in years past.
Former league MVP James Harden no longer anchors the Rockets — having been dealt to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal in January. And fellow MVP Russell Westbrook, who the Rockets traded for ahead of last season, is now a member of the Washington Wizards.
Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s matchup between the Rockets (11-19) and the Raptors (16-17).
Raptors coaching staff won't be on bench
The Raptors announced on Friday afternoon that head coach Nick Nurse and five other members of the team's coaching staff will not be on the bench beginning tonight against the Rockets due to health and safety protocols. Team general manager Bobby Webster is scheduled to speak to the media at 5:45 p.m. ET.
Lowry rumour mill
Raptors star Kyle Lowry — whose current contract expires at the end of this season —has been the subject of trade rumours in advance of next month’s deadline, with the latest report stating that Lowry would prefer to play for the 76ers in the event he asks the Raptors to trade him.
Rockets’ new additions
As compensation for Harden, the Rockets ultimately received two-time all-star Victor Oladipo after trading away some of the Nets players they received in the Harden deal to the Indiana Pacers. In the deal with the Wizards for Westbrook, the Rockets acquired five-time all-star John Wall.
Raptors: None listed.
Rockets: Dante Exum: out (calf), Christian Wood: out (ankle).
* The Raptors on Friday announced the signing of forward Donta Hall to a 10-day contract. He is expected to suit up tonight for Raptors 905, Toronto’s G-League affiliate, in their game against the Greensboro Swarm.