This Celtics-Raptors trade features Tristan Thompson to Toronto

After a terrible start to the NBA season, the Toronto Raptors have turned things around and in the midst of injuries and safety protocols, they find themselves 17-22 and very much back in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference. While they have slid a bid in the standings over the last week or so due to some players being in health and safety protocols, this team definitely has a chance to turn things on late in the season. . After having an All-Star for seven consecutive seasons, the Raptors did not have any of their players named to this year’s All-Star game, but they have a really solid roster that seems to be one piece away from being a top-tier team. . . Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry have all continued to play at a high-level this year, but the emergence of Norman Powell, O. G. Anunoby and Chris Boucher have helped this team turn things around. Powell is one of the most underrated players in the entire league and is currently 3rd on the Raptors in scoring this season. . Outside of these six guys though, the Raptors do not have many reliable options to turn to and their frontcourt is a complete disaster. With both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol leaving in free agency last offseason, they left a void on this Toronto roster that has not been repaired yet. This is why the Raptors could aggressively pursue another high-motor frontcourt talent at the NBA trade deadline. . . Over the last few days, some NBA trade rumors have been circulating around Celtics’ big man Tristan Thompson and the Toronto Raptors are one of the few teams that could have a significant amount of interest in the veteran center. Boston just signed him to a two-year contract this past offseason, but with Robert Williams and Daniel Theis also in their frontcourt, Thompson is dispensable for the right price. Could the Raptors potentially look to bolster their frontcourt by adding Tristan Thompson? Let’s take a look at what this trae scenario could eventually turn out to look like.

NBA: Nikola Jokic’s triple-double helps Nuggets handle Hornets

Michael Porter Jr. produced 28 points and 13 rebounds, Nikola Jokic finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the Charlotte Hornets 129-104 on Monday night. . . Denvers Will Barton scored 23 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and PJ Dozier added 13. Facundo Campazzo dished out 10 assists for the Nuggets, who earned their seventh win in eight games. . . Terry Rozier led Charlotte with 21 points and Malik Monk added 16, all in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. LaMelo Ball contributed 14 points for the Hornets, whose four-game winning streak ended. . The Hornets jumped out to a nine-point lead in the first five minutes of the game. Barton, as he did Monday in a victory over the Indiana Pacers, had a strong first quarter and helped Denver get back in it in a hurry. His 3-pointer ignited nine straight Denver points to put the Nuggets in the lead, 23-21. . . Miles Bridges had a dunk and a layup to pull Charlotte within a point heading into the second quarter. . . JaMychal Green made two short jumpers, Dozier hit a pair 3-pointers and Murray drained another from deep to put Denver ahead 39-30. Two 3-pointers from the Hornets cut the deficit to three, but the Nuggets slowly built their lead back up. . . Porter had a layup, Murray sank a 3-pointer and Jokic tipped in a basket for Denver, which closed the first half with seven straight points to lead 57-45 at intermission. . The Nuggets continued their surge after halftime. Barton hit a pull-up jumper, Paul Millsap made a layup, Jokic scored on a shot in the lane and Porter dunked to put Denver ahead by 65-45. . . The teams traded baskets for a few minutes to keep it a 20-point game before Murray hit a trio of 3-pointers and Porter made another from behind the arc to spark another Nuggets surge and produce a 95-67 lead after three quarters. . . Jokic had seven assists in the period to notch another triple-double, his 11th of the season and the 52nd of his career. . . Denver led by as many as 34 points in the fourth quarter. . .