It’s becoming hard to come up with excuses.
All season the Toronto Raptors have had reasonable excuses for their losses. When the season started it was just working new players into the rotation. Then there was bad luck or questionable officiating. Then it was fatigue on back-to-backs, COVID-19 issues, and returning from COVID-19 issues. But after losing 116-105 to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night, there’s not much more to say. Eventually, you just are what your record says you are and the Raptors are 17-25.
The Raptors are a team that hasn’t found an identity yet. All season Raptors coach Nick Nurse has mixed and matched with his rotation desperately looking for someone to step up and take over those minutes. On Friday, he said he had had enough of the constant churn and was finally settling on a bench unit he felt the most comfortable with. That meant significant playing time for Malachi Flynn and Paul Watson Jr. against the Utah Jazz.
That plan lasted one game.
After five minutes of Watson and 12 of Flynn, Nurse turned to Patrick McCaw and Stanley Johnson to help provide some defensive intensity down the stretch. Suddenly the Raptors came alive. That classic Toronto Raptors defence showed up. They forced turnovers one after another to widdle down a 22-point Cavaliers to just five with less than a minute to go all while Pascal Siakam remained stabled to the bench for the entire fourth quarter.
But that was as close as Toronto would get, dropping its eighth straight game. This time, at the hands of Collin Sexton who could not be slowed, leading the Cavaliers with a game-high 36 points.
Up Next: Houston Rockets
The Raptors won’t have any time off as they’re right back at it on Monday night against the struggling Houston Rockets who have lost 20 straight games.