Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse for the Toronto Raptors, 2021 dealt Toronto another blow.
At this point, the Raptors are crawling to the finish line desperate to just make it to the end of the season in one piece. It’s why they’ve been so careful with OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, unwilling to take any risk with two of their most important future assets. On Saturday, things got worse for Toronto who saw Pascal Siakam and Rodney Hood both exit early in a 109-99 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
This season has been so bad that players and others within the organization are reportedly counting the days until they can leave Tampa on May 17, according to TSN’s Josh Lewenberg.
All that misery has, however, given some extra playing time to some of Toronto’s younger and less talented players. With VanVleet and Kyle Lowry both sidelined, Malachi Flynn got the start and played plenty of minutes alongside fellow rookie Jalen Harris. Flynn didn’t do much in the first three quarters, but he picked things up a little bit in the fourth quarter scoring 10 of his 15 points in the final frame while holding his own against Memphis’ Ja Morant.
“I didn’t think he was having a particularly good game tonight, just in general. And then he kept staying with it, and he took his game to a decent level,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “A really good level in the fourth quarter. That takes some courage, and that takes some confident to play through some stuff, and then make some shots and make some plays.”
Harris continued to look confident on the court, scoring 16 points with a team-high four assists.
“He played well. Vaulted up and hit shots, he’s got to the rim, he is pretty bouncy and athletic, quick and fast and can jump, all of those things, and he’s played confidently,” Nurse said. “He’s taking the right shots, I don’t see him forcing much and he’s played well, done a good job.”
While no current Raptors players really stood out, former Raptors Jonas Valanciunas once again had his way with Toronto. He followed up his 27-points, 20-rebound performance against Toronto in late January with a 19-point, 21-rebound game on Saturday.
The team had no update on Siakam’s injury other than it was a left shoulder sprain. Unfortunately, X-rays revealed Hood suffered a fracture in his second metacarpal on his left hand.
With the loss, Toronto will fall 1.5 games back of the Chicago Bulls for the seventh-best NBA lottery odds.
Up Next: L.A. Clippers
For the second time in a week, the Raptors will take on Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, and the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday night in Tampa.