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Raptors rookie sensation Scottie Barnes faces a measuring stick

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Coming off back-to-back double-doubles for the first time this season, Scottie Barnes will be back in the rookie spotlight.

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Thursday night against visiting Detroit will be Cade Cunningham who will provide the measuring stick – the NBA’s first pick who endured ankle and hip problems, while being forced to miss games when he entered league health and safety protocols.

The kid can play, but so can Barnes, who the Raptors selected fourth overall.

Friday night in a rare back-to-back slate at home, Orlando comes to town with rookies Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner. Suggs was picked a pick after Barnes.

Sunday night in Cleveland, the Raptors begin a six-game road series. The Cavs introduce the presumptive rookie of the year in big man Evan Mobley, the third pick in the draft.

Suggs has had a tough season, but he’s shown signs of finding his groove after recording two double-doubles in his last five games following a win over Indiana on Monday.

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The top rookie for the Magic was Wagner, the eighth pick in a draft class that proved deep and quite good.

Wagner’s teammates took notice of his play. After a 26-point effort against the Nuggets recently, Wendell Carter Jr. praised Wagner’s play.

“I said to Franz, ‘Man, you’re one of the best players on this team. If not the best,’ Carter Jr. said. “I want him to believe it.

“I want him to go out there and figure that out. He already has the respect of many great players in this league. He is gold.

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HALF FULTZ IN GLASS

Markelle Fultz was the NBA’s No. 1 pick in 2017 when Philly took the point guard, the same year Toronto used No. 23 to draft OG Anunoby.

Fultz returned from an ACL injury in Orlando’s win over the Pacers by registering six assists, his first game in nearly 14 months.

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“It wasn’t like I was out there thinking too much,” Fultz said. “My goal was just to go out and play as hard as I can and enjoy the game.

“With the energy of the crowd and everything and the adrenaline flowing, it was great to have the first game under my belt.”

Injuries are part of life in the NBA.

With Anunoby sidelined with a broken finger, Barnes stepped up.

Knee pain kept Fred VanVleet on the bench, a setback that allowed Malachi Flynn to get more minutes, while allowing Barnes to get more touches.

PRESIDENT OF THE BOARDS

In Toronto’s win over Brooklyn on Tuesday night, Barnes showed his all-around game by producing his seventh double-digit rebounding game of the season and first since a Dec. 14 meeting against the Nets.

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In his last three games against Brooklyn, Barnes had a combined 38 rebounds.

In back-to-back wins over the Nets, Barnes also turned the ball over a total of eight times.

Monday night in Brooklyn, Barnes started the night draining 10 shots in a row, the first rookie to accomplish the feat since Derrick Rose, the 2008 NBA Rookie of the Year who would go on to league MVP honors. cops before knee injuries saddled Rose. .

Barnes is clearly in the conversation for top rookie, a conversation that also includes OKC’s Josh Giddey, who became the first freshman since Oscar Robertson to post triple-doubles in three successive games.

“He’s got a good rhythm in the game,” former Rookie of the Year LeBron James said of the many career highlights the King has achieved. “Great vision. He plays great basketball.

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The same could be said of Barnes.

JUST NETS

The Raptors concluded their four-game series against Brooklyn by winning back-to-back odds to earn a split.

There is a chance that both teams will reconnect in the play-in format.

What’s interesting to watch is how the Raptors are doing on a fluid roster, while Brooklyn has its own issues to deal with as it goes for a championship.

Tuesday night in Toronto, the Nets used their 35th starting lineup of the season. This number should increase.

Remember, this was a Nets team that stood on top of the East. The Nets are now three games behind Toronto, who find themselves in the seventh seed

“Obviously everyone knows the situation we’re in,” said veteran James Johnson, a former Raptor. “But the guys in the locker room, we understand it a little differently.

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“We understand where we are, we understand how close we really are to becoming who we want to be this year. As long as we keep playing with a no excuse mentality and the next man, I feel like we’re getting better.

Kevin Durant should be back Thursday with a knee problem.

Kyrie Irving is eligible to play in seven of Brooklyn’s remaining 19 games unless New York’s vaccination mandate changes.

Brooklyn will be at Philadelphia next Thursday night in a high-profile game, but there’s no guarantee Ben Simmons will play as he deals with an earlier issue.

The status of sniper Joe Harris is uncertain as he continues to deal with a troublesome ankle injury.

The star quality is undeniable and yet Brooklyn remains a team in flux as they get used to playing with recent additions such as Andre Drummond, Seth Curry and Goran Dragic.

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If the pieces all come together at the right time, the Nets will be a threat.

Veteran forward LaMarcus Aldridge knows what to do.

“It’s gonna take it all,” he said. “It’s going to be about trying to maximize every day to get better, trying to reduce the Xs and Os, trying to build team chemistry, camaraderie, all those things.

“We just have to maximize every day together, try to learn and try to improve every day.”

Maybe one day down the road, the Raptors and Nets will meet again.

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TIPOFF RAPTOR PISTONS

Thursday, 7:30 p.m. at Scotiabank Arena; Television: TSN, Radio: AM 1050

RESEARCH REPORT

Once again, the Pistons are building for the future. The show hasn’t been good, but under head coach Dwane Casey, the team is still using its best against the Raptors, who were once coached by Casey. At the trade deadline, Detroit reached a deal that landed Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III from Sacramento. Bagley sprained his ankle in a loss to Boston on Saturday and missed Detroit’s last two games.

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Marquee Match

Cade Cunningham vs. Scottie Barnes

A battle of rookies who don’t play exactly like first-year players. Cunningham was taken first overall, while Barnes finished fourth. Cunningham has the ball much more in his hands than Barnes, but both see the ground well. Neither is known for making three-pointers, with Cunningham hitting two of 16 from range in his last four games. Nonetheless, Cunningham is fun to watch, as is Barnes, who has gone 6 for 18 from beyond the arc in the last 11 games.

DID YOU KNOW?

It’s the third of a three-game road trip for Detroit, which started its away game with a thrilling overtime win at Charlotte… Detroit is averaging 115 points in its last four games, a huge improvement for a team that couldn’t reach the century mark for most of the season… Under Casey, the Pistons have beaten the Raptors five times in a row, including a 103-87 win at Motown on Jan. 14 . noted. “Getting fired is part of the business and it’s far in my rear view mirror these days.”

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