It’s been a busy month for me outside of Raptors HQ; I haven’t been able to write as much about the Toronto Raptors or even pay as close attention to the team as I normally do. Seems they’ve fallen apart when I wasn’t looking!
The last game I wrote about was the Raps’ easy win over the Los Angeles Lakers (missing LeBron James and Anthony Davis) on December 7. They haven’t won since.
At first glance, you might think they have a chance to take advantage of another shorthanded team, as the Golden State Warriors are here tonight, without Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, and Andre Igoudala.
But the Raptors saw Golden State’s injury report and said, “hold my beer.” Precious Achiuwa, Otto Porter, and O.G. Anunoby are all still out, and now it’s looking like whatever’s ailing Gary Trent Jr. is only getting worse.
Trent is out vs Golden State today and the pre-game update from Nick Nurse isn’t encouraging. Nurse says Gary is dealing with a thigh problem in both legs. “It doesn’t look like it’s getting much better and I think they’re searching for more answers at this point.”— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) December 18, 2022
Not great, Bob!
Injuries aside, can the Raptors get their shit together and win this one? As Chelsea wrote about this morning, there were a lot of positive signs on Friday vs. the Brooklyn Nets, a game the Raptors led by double-digits before falling at the buzzer to that guy.
The Raptors shot the ball better... for part of the game. They played better defense... for part of the game. It just seems that putting together a solid 48 minutes seems out of their reach right now. Which, given that they’ve been missing two of their three key bench pieces for more than a month (not to mention Anunoby and Trent, now) shouldn’t be too surprising.
I know it’s on brand for Raptors HQ to preach patience. “It’s fine” has long been our default position and you’re probably tired of hearing it. But it was really only about nine months ago that “Vision 6’9”” was rolling, and the Raptors were in the processing winning 34 of their final 51 games, a stretch that included win streaks of five games (twice), six games, and eight games. We all believed in the potential of this team then. It’s almost exactly the same team now. Why, after a measly 29 games, are we suddenly saying this team has no future without a backup point guard and a true centre? Especially when the team has been so banged up?
If they can get healthy, they can easily do it again. And if they can’t get healthy, what’s the point of blowing up the team? Unless you’re trading the injured guys, it’s just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.
In any event — the remains of the Raptors will play the remains of the Warriors shortly. Let’s watch?
Where to watch:
TSN, 6:00 pm ET
Toronto Raptors — Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes, Christian Koloko, Pascal Siakam, Juancho Hernangomez
Golden State Warriors — Donte DiVincenzo, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney, Klay Thompson, Jordan Poole
Toronto Raptors — Precious Achiuwa (ankle – out), Otto Porter Jr. (foot – out), O.G. Anunoby (hip – out), Gary Trent Jr. (hip – out)
Golden State Warriors — Andre Igoudala (hip – out), Andrew Wiggins (adductor – out), Stephen Curry (shoulder – out)