The Toronto Raptors were faced with quite a daunting prospect in a season that has been full of disappointments. If Fred VanVleet and the rest of the squad lost at home to the Chicago Bulls, whom Toronto had already beaten twice this season, the campaign would come to a close.
Siakam and the Raptors were able to close the first half up 11 thanks to a mind-boggling 3-pointer that Fred VanVleet dropped in the net from 40 feet away. The shot was emblematic of a half where a ton went right for the Raptors, thanks to good shot selection and tremendous execution on the defensive side of the ball.
Rather than take advantage of a 19-point lead, the Raptors missed an alarming number of free throws and surrendered 35 points as Toronto fell 109-105 at home. Chicago’s comeback (and Toronto’s choke job) means that the Bulls and Miami Heat will square off for the No. 8 seed in the East.
This loss was as pathetic as any in the Nick Nurse era, which may end relatively soon, thanks to all the smoke connecting him to the Rockets. Toronto needs a facelift, as this pathetic loss against the Bulls proved.
The Toronto Raptors choked against the Bulls.
Toronto, in essence, dared the Bulls to beat them from beyond the arc by packing the paint and leaning on the fact that the Bulls attempt the fewest 3-pointers in the league. Chicago was ineffeattempted7-26) from deep, which helped them fall right into the defensive trap that Nick Nurse had laid out for them. At least…early on.
Toronto was committing dumb turnovers, letting the Bulls get whatever they wanted on offense by not taking VanVleet off LaVine, and looking generally gassed due to their high workload. The Raptors finally got their comeuppance after years of failing to address the lack of bench depth or guard skills adequately.
Worst of all, the Raptors missed a staggering 18 free throws. This was often due to Diar DeRozan, daughter of DeMar DeRozan, screaming at the top of her lungs whenever Toronto shot. It’s easy to blame DeRozan, but if anyone is looking at a literal child as the reason why a bunch of grown men collectively soiled themselves at the free-throw line on a big stage, that’s pathetic.
Pathetic, much like this season.
And so ends another Raptors season, this one bitterly and leaving more questions than answers as an offseason of change looms ahead. Unless Masai Ujiri knocks it out of the park as a drafter, roster builder, hiring manager, and architect, the Raptors will be back in these same waters with no first-round pick.
Otherwise known as the NBA doldrums.