3 Toronto Raptors who must step up after Scottie Barnes injury

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4) Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 10: Chris Boucher #25 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors went from finishing the season as hot as possible to staring an early playoff exit against the Philadelphia 76ers right in the face. Injuries to Scottie Barnes and Thad Young have made Toronto’s prospects of stopping Joel Embiid and James Harden even tougher.

Barnes’ injury is the most serious of the bunch given what he means to the team on both ends of the floor. Barnes was listed as doubtful for Game 2 due to a nasty ankle injury that came as the result of Embiid falling on top of him. This is just plain old bad luck.

The Raptors will need to prepare for Barnes to either be absent or less than fully healthy for the remainder of the series. An already tough path to the second round of the postseason is going to be even more arduous now that key names like Barnes and Young are out. However, playing hurt is nothing new to this team.

Toronto needs uniformity, calmness, and resolve if they want to pull off the impossible and somehow try to send Embiid home early. It’s incumbent upon these three players to answer the call and help replace Barnes’ presence over the next few games.

These 3 Toronto Raptors must play better without Scottie Barnes.

3. Chris Boucher

While the starting lineup is likely going to look much different with so many big names out, Boucher is likely going to stay on the bench to provide that burst of energy Nick Nurse needs from his reserves. After struggling in Game 1, it’s on Boucher to turn things around.

While Boucher averaged a double-double against the 76ers in the regular season, Embiid and Paul Reed were able to have some measure of success against him in this Game 1 win. Being a more physical defender and a willing shooter will be on Boucher’s plate for the next few games.

Toronto Raptors: Chris Boucher must bring energy.

While the Raptors are a very young team, Boucher is one of the few on this team who has been around the block in the postseason multiple times with Nick Nurse. Young’s veteran glue guy stuff is hard to replace, but Boucher needs to try his hardest here to help Toronto keep pace.

Winning the non-Embiid minutes by a convincing margin is going to be one of the best ways for Toronto to counteract the star power in Philly’s starting lineup. Barnes and Young are good for about 20 points and a handful of sharp defensive plays every night, and Boucher is a big piece of the puzzle with regards to replacing that production.