NBA

Kyle Lowry out for Raptors against Thunder

Saturday, March 16 at 9:30 PM ET

Chesapeake Energy Arena

Coverage: ESPN

Toronto Raptors star point guard Kyle Lowry has been ruled out for tonight's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Lowry left Monday night's 128-92 win against the Knicks with right ankle soreness after getting tangled up with Mitchell Robinson in the third quarter.

The talented point guard finished with 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 26 minutes against the Knicks and he's averaging 14.8 points, 9.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 34.6 minutes over 57 games this season.

With Lowry out, Fred VanVleet or Jeremy Lin will likely take his place in the starting lineup. VanVleet scored 13 points with 12 assists in 28 minutes against the Knicks while Lin also played well, finishing with 20 points off the bench in 27 minutes.

VanVleet and Lin can help replace Lowry's production but can they stop Russell Westbrook? Westbrook has played at a high level lately, averaging 25.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 35.9 minutes over his last 10 games.

Westbrook has to get back on track after having a poor game in Saturday's 110-88 home loss against the Warriors. He scored just seven points on 2-for-16 shooting in that game and went 0-for-7 from 3-point range.

Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam should carry the load for the Raptors on offense but Siakam, in particular, needs to have a big game. Lowry is out, so Siakam has to be their secondary scorer and he has to prove why he's among the favorites to win the NBA's Most Improved Player Award.

Siakam was dominant against the Knicks with 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes and now he's averaging 18.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists in 33.5 minutes over his last 10 games.

Serge Ibaka's return from suspension will also provide a boost to the Raptors. Ibaka missed the last three games and Marc Gasol started in those contests, stepping up with 12.0 points (on 48.0 percent shooting from the field), 9.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 28.3 minutes but his playing time will likely drop off with Ibaka back.

This is a very important game for the Raptors, they're just three games behind the Bucks for the best record in the Eastern Conference but they will face a reeling Thunder team that has lost three in a row to fall to sixth place in the Western Conference, just a half-game over the Jazz and Clippers. OKC clearly can't afford to keep dropping games, especially at home so this will be a fun to watch clash.

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