1 concerning takeaway from Raptors’ humiliating loss to Pelicans

Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors went into their matchup against Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans with their health intact and a two-game winning streak in their back pocket. With Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum both injured, it wouldn’t be outrageous to expect a victory from the Canadian side.

While Siakam got the offense off to a nice start, everything completely fell apart on both sides of the ball. From committing 10 turnovers in the first half to allowing New Orleans to shoot 64% from the field, Toronto went into the locker room down 74-47. Somehow, the game felt more lopsided than that.

The Raptors, now 3-8 on the road, were completely taken apart by the Pelicans, losing 126-108 despite Willie Green’s team clearly taking their foot off the gas in the second half. This is frighteningly similar to a loss against the Thunder in which Toronto looked uninterested in playing defense.

The Raptors have had an issue with playing down to their competition for a long time, and getting run out of the gym by a team missing two top-40 players in Ingram and McCollum is a damning confirmation of that flaw. Losing to New Orleans is one thing. Getting humbled like this is scary.

The Toronto Raptors played down to an injured Pelicans team.

Gary Trent Jr. may have been the only Raptor who played above what was expected of him, as he was cooking off the bench. Siakam scored a bit, but he was (for his standards) held in check for large chunks of the game. Fred VanVleet was ejected after making just one shot from the field in 20 minutes.

Scottie Barnes was extremely disappointing, as he connected on only one of his seven shots and finished with four points while turning it over three times. Barnes was one of many Raptors who didn’t show the heart and hustle they exhibited during Siakam’s return against the Cleveland Cavaliers just a few days ago.

Stopping Williamson is certainly a headache, but he wasn’t the only Pelican who lit it up tonight. Trey Murphy looked like Ray Allen from 3-point range, Jonas Valanciunas cruised his way to a double-double, and rookie Dyson Daniels was lighting up the Toronto bench. This kind of loss may make Nick Nurse reevaluate his rotation.

The Raptors are too good to be getting cooked in such a frightening fashion. Two days after only surrendering 88 points in a win against the Cavaliers, they played like the 2011 Bobcats. With the always-difficult Nets and dominant Celtics coming up on the schedule, Toronto has no shot against them if they play like this.