1 stud and 1 dud from Raptors absolutely brutal loss against Magic

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 4: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 4: Pascal Siakam #43 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors have had a problem with playing down to their competition this season, and a loss against the Pistons only exemplified the fact that they’ve let some winnable games get away from them. Perhaps a tussle with the Orlando Magic, owners of the league’s worst record coming into Friday night, might help?

Unfortunately, Toronto’s situation did not improve much against Jamahl Mosley and the Magic. The offense without Fred VanVleet in the backcourt and OG Anunoby in the post completely shriveled up, as they went long stretches without doing much of anything despite playing a very young Orlando team.

The Raptors entered the third quarter with just 60 points, as only a couple of players actually came to play tonight. Orlando pulled off a 103-94 win, meaning that the Raptors are now 2-6 combined against Eastern Conference bottom-feeders like Orlando, Detroit, and Indiana.

This is nothing short of a disaster, as Toronto is now 2-4 during a part of their schedule that was generally regarded as one of the easy patches. Outside of one standout player, there was very little for fans and players alike to smile about.

81. Final. 103. 38. 94

Pascal Siakam was the driving force for the Toronto Raptors.

The only starter who looked like he knew what he was supposed to do on the offensive end tonight was Siakam, who followed up a nice night against Detroit with some slid interior scoring against Mo Bamba and the Magic. Orlando knew he was getting the ball, and he was still hard to stop.

Siakam recorded 34 points on 14-20 shooting and 14 rebounds. He had some bad turnovers, but that’s a result of having the ball in your hands for  Players not named Siakam or Malachi Flynn shot 17-59 from the field and scored just 43 points. Those numbers almost defy belief against a team like the Magic.

Siakam is still in the middle of one of the finest seasons of his career, and he did his part to make sure that the loss of VanVleet and Anunoby on the offensive end was minimized. This offense ran as inefficiently as possible outside of him, but Siakam stepped up and was his usual effective self. 

Toronto can’t keep relying on Siakam like this, as someone else on this team needs to make some plays in the direst way possible. At the very least, Toronto can lean on the fact that Siakam should be good for an automatic 20 points on relatively efficient percentages.

Khem Birch struggled once again for the Toronto Raptors.

I know beating up on Birch is low-hanging fruit at this point, but what else am I supposed to say after he was a massive anchor weighing down this offense once again? Not only is Birch struggling right now, but he’s also been so poor that Nick Nurse may need to drop him from the rotation entirely.

Birch played just nine minutes and recorded one point. Birch has recorded just six made shots from the field since the All-Star break, and five of them came in one game against Brooklyn. It took a lot for him to beat out Gary Trent Jr. tonight, as he is as cold as a shooter of his caliber can be.

Precious Achiuwa was not great tonight, but he’s come on strong in the second half of the season. Chris Boucher is back in a groove of sorts, and even the recently signed DJ Wilson is making a case for playing time when he returns from injury. Birch may have run out of chances to prove his worth in Toronto

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