Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes limped off the court on Saturday night. X-rays came back negative but the 20-year-old walked into shootaround on Monday morning with a boot on his left leg. Barnes has been ruled out for Game 2, with no timeline on his return.
Barnes was Toronto’s fourth-leading scorer this season at 15.3 points per game. He also averaged 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.1 steals in a breakout first year that could garner him Rookie of the Year honors. His absence is a huge loss for a Raptors team coming off a 131-111 loss in Game 1. He scored 15 points in 32 minutes. Now there’s a feeling that Barnes could miss the rest of the Sixers-Raptors series.
Joel Embiid inadvertently stepped on Barnes’ ankle when the two men were jockeying for position in the paint. He was laying on the floor and writhing in pain for several minutes as trainers checked him out. Barnes was helped off the court by his teammates amid the din of Sixers fans cheering.
Wait, what? Were they applauding an opposing player for getting injured? Or, were they simply happy that Raptors guard Fred Van Vleet had fouled out? That was the debate raging on Twitter. Predictably, the national media assumed the worst. You be the judge.
“When you lose a good player, it hurts you,” Sixers head coach Doc Rivers said after Game 1, via Sixers Wire. “That’s just obvious. He’s not a rookie, I’ll tell you that much. He’s just smart with his rotations, guarding two guys at once with his instincts, with his length, he’s one of their better defenders.”
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Sixers-Raptors Injury Report
Barnes isn’t the only Raptors player dealing with a concerning injury. Thaddeus Young (left thumb) and Gary Trent Jr. (non-COVID illness) are listed doubtful on the NBA’s official injury report. Toronto head coach Nick Nurse confirmed that both guys “probably won’t play” after Monday’s shootaround.
Meanwhile, the Sixers are looking pretty close to 100% healthy heading into Game 2. Jaden Springer (right knee) is listed questionable and Charles Bassey (right shoulder) is out. Neither player saw action in Game 1 and wasn’t expected to be a part of Doc Rivers’ playoff rotation. Joel Embiid (knee) and James Harden (hamstring) haven’t had any setbacks from their lingering injuries.
Preparing for Game 2 After Blowout Victory
The Sixers know they likely won’t coast to another 20-point victory in Game 2. Saturday’s win marked the fourth time in team history where Philly won Game 1 of a playoff series by at least 20 points (April 4, 2018 vs. Miami was the last one). The Sixers shot 51.2% from the floor and 50% from three-point range, with Tyrese Maxey pacing the offense with 38 points.
Tobias Harris scored 26 points in Game 1 while going 9-of-14 from the field. After the contest, he talked about the challenge of preparing for Game 2. Everyone knows it won’t be easy.
“For us, we’ve got to stay level,” Harris said. “We’ve got to stay really balanced during this time to understand that we’ve got to figure out ways to go out and figure out spots in the game where we had success and what was clicking for us and what we can stay with and continue to do.”