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Five Daily Thoughts: Tough loss to Memphis

Toronto is just 2-8 at home, and without a turnaround in the health department, it might get even worse.

Memphis Grizzlies v Toronto Raptors Photo by Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images

Well the week got away from me again and I haven’t been able to get my thoughts on paper, nor was I able to write up the Power Rankings on Monday. Time to get back on track! I missed so much!!

1. Ugh, that first half

The Toronto Raptors played some of their ugliest basketball of the season in the first half last night. It really seemed like the injuries and mismatched lineups, not to mention their propensity for fouling, was catching up to them in a big way.

Thankfully the second half was much better — the Raps actually won the half 43-40 and shot an OK 42%. But they didn’t have enough in the tank, thanks to...

2. Injuries, again

Our guy Sean Woodley called it out the other day: With all of the overlapping injuries, this season is starting to feel uncomfortably like last year. No consistent lineups, no chemistry developing, and a poor product on the floor. And losses. Lots of losses.

I still feel like the team maybe, kinda, sorta... takes things a little too carefully when it comes to injuries. Not that I have an issue prioritizing long-term health, but… sacrificing chemistry among players you hope will be here for the long haul, not to mention wins, seems, perhaps, a bit short-sighted.

Then again, what do I know. Maybe I’m turning into a crusty old “back in my day” guy. Back in my day, guys would play five games in six nights with a torn ACL while smoking five cigarettes at halftime...

3. Scottie and the look-backs

Yeah, I know, another old man rant. But Scottie, man, just stop.

Now, it’s possible Barnes thought there was a whistle there. But it’s also not the first time Scottie’s slowed down to look back on a breakaway.

But this... what was this about?

Time and score, young fella. Time and score.

4. Desmond Bane vs Flynn

So, Demond Bane, owner of one of the coolest names in basketball, was drafted one spot behind Malachi Flynn.

I don’t want to say anything bad about Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster as talent evaluators — clearly these guys know what the hell they’re doing! — but man, they missed that one (as did many other teams).

Bane scored 23 in the game, and in one first-quarter sequence, faked Malachi out of his shoes, sidestepped and drained a triple.

Flynn, meanwhile, scored a mere five, missed some very open looks, and ended up a -14.

Yeah. I sure would like to have that one back.

5. Familiar defensive game plan

The Grizzlies shadowed Fred VanVleet last night, much the same way that that VanVleet typically guards guys like Steph Curry. As a result, Fred only scored 15, but more importantly, his teammates didn’t step up the way we've seen opponents step up when the Raptors take out opponents’ top scorers.

Part of was simply the Grizzlies sticking Jaren Jackson Jr. on Pascal Siakam; JJJ’s length gave Siakam trouble all night, and he swatted away five Raptors shots. The other part, of course, is the missing bodies; surely OG Anunoby and Gary Trent Jr. would have taken advantage. Without those guys, it’s asking a lot of Svi Mykhailiuk and Yuta Watanabe to fill those shoes.

All of which is to say: Please get healthy soon, Raptors!