Expect emotions to run high as former teammates lock horns in this contest after both sides made moves at the trade deadline. While the Portland Trail Blazers parted ways with Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood, they welcomed Toronto's Norman Powell into the mix.
From the very early looks, it appears the Trail Blazers are the winners of this trade as Powell could potentially help them over the hump while Trent Jr. and Hood don't offer an immediate solution to the Raptors' numerous problems this season.
The Portland Trail Blazers have proven their mettle as an elite team in the Western Conference. Despite being severely shorthanded at times, the Blazers have been able to maintain their .600 record thus far into the season.
Meanwhile, the struggling Toronto Raptors are battling hard to keep their heads above water. Nick Nurse's men have dropped nine of their last ten games and will be desperate to add a win to their losing record in Sunday's matchup.
Trail Blazers vs Raptors Injury updates
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers have listed their 2021 All-Star Damian Lillard and small forward Nasir Little on the injury report ahead of this fixture. Lillard, who suffered a knee contusion, is questionable to return to the floor for Sunday's game against the Raptors while Nassir Little has been ruled out of the contest due to a sprained right thumb.
In some good news for Trail Blazers fans, the team welcomed back Jusuf Nurkic to the NBA hardwood in their previous matchup against the Magic. Nurkic will resume his role as their primary center for the rest of the campaign.
The Toronto Raptors will be without their shooting guards DeAndre' Bembry and Paul Watson, as both players will remain out due to the league's stringent health and safety protocols. Small forward Patrick McCaw will be on the sidelines as he recovers from a knee injury.
Trail Blazers vs Raptors Predicted Line-ups
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers will hope to get Damian Lillard back in the lineup for this game. However, they have enough talent on their roster to take care of business against a slumping Toronto Raptors squad.
Terry Stotts could use the same lineup from their previous outing as he sends CJ McCollum and Norman Powell to start things off in the backcourt. The duo combined for 44 points in their win over the Orlando Magic on Friday. Derrick Jones Jr. and defensive specialist Robert Covington are expected to resume their roles on the wing as the two forwards for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Coming in at the center position will be Jusuf Nurkic, who returned to the action in their previous matchup, tallying eight points and eight boards in 19 minutes on the floor.
For the Toronto Raptors, Nick Nurse will hope to see his new acquisitions in Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood do better this time around. Both players are expected to come off the bench to give the side a boost against their former ball club on Sunday.
Veteran Kyle Lowry will join Fred VanVleet in the backcourt as the duo faces off against their counterparts CJ McCollum and former Raptor Norman Powell in the starting five. Lowry is coming off a slow night in their loss to the Suns and could bounce back with a big performance in this matchup.
With Bembry (Covid-19 protocols) getting sidelined for this contest, OG Anunoby could move to the small forward position as Chris Boucher comes in as the power forward. Pascal Siakam will roll out as their primary center as he battles with Nurkic underneath the rim.
Portland Trail Blazers Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - CJ McCollum, Shooting Guard - Norman Powell, Small Forward - Derrick Jones Jr., Power Forward - Robert Covington, Center - Jusuf Nurkic
Toronto Raptors Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kyle Lowry, Shooting Guard - Fred VanVleet, Small Forward - OG Anunoby, Power Forward - Chris Boucher, Center - Pascal Siakam