Raptors break the worst kind of franchise record in latest desultory loss

Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors and Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves
Immanuel Quickley, Toronto Raptors and Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The last few weeks of the NBA season tend to see a number of teams fully embrace the "tank" and trot out impossibly outmatched lineups to chase losses and therefore draft positioning. Even given that annual farce, this season is one for the ages. The Utah Jazz are on a ten-game losing streak, the Portland Trail Blazers are 1-9 in their last ten games, and per ESPN's Bobby Marks the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards are on track to set franchise lows for wins in a season.

Given that context, that the NBA has never been lower, it's remarkable how much worse the Toronto Raptors have been over the past four weeks than any other team in the entire association. No one in the NBA can compete with their complete and utter ineptitude. The Raptors were so decimated by injuries that they started the following group: Immanuel Quickley, Garrett Temple, Gradey Dick, Jalen Daniels and Malik Williams.

If you are not familiar with Malik Williams, that's because he signed a 10-day contract with the team on Wednesday afternoon and was starting for them seven hours later.

It's no wonder that the Raptors were absolutely boat-raced by the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game where Toronto never really had a chance. The Raptors went up 5-0 and were then outscored by 53 points over the rest of the game. The final margin was 48 points, a 133-85 beatdown that stretched the losing streak to 15 games and represents the worst loss in franchise history.

The worst loss in Raptors history

That record has been one the Raptors have been flirting with throughout this losing streak. Six of the 25 worst Raptors defeats in team history have come this season, and the Raptors logged 41 and 44-point defeats in the last 14 games. Now they have secured the worst kind of record outright, with the 48-point loss to Minnesota outstripping a 46-point loss to the New York Knicks back in their first season.

The Raptors have been outscored by 286 points over the past 15 games, the 31st worst stretch for any team in the history of the NBA. If you only count each team once (i.e. if a team has a bad 16-game stretch not counting the first 15 and the last 15 as separate streaks) this streak is the ninth-worst in NBA history.

Read that again: the Raptors' last 15 games represent one of the nine most inept performances in the 78-year history of the NBA.

As if things were not bad enough, the Raptors are now approaching the longest losing streak in franchise history, which stands at 17 games. Toronto plays Milwaukee next in a game likely to push them to 16, and then the game to tie the streak comes back at home against the Washington Wizards.

That may seem like an easy win, but nothing is easy for the Raptors right now. The Wizards are actually 6-9 in their last 15 games, being outscored by just seven points per game; the Raptors are being outscored by 19.1 points per game and have already lost once to the Wizards during this streak.

There are very real reasons for why the Raptors are playing so poorly, mostly explained by a rash of injuries and an organization that is intentionally resting players rather than trying to win games. The result has been the worst single-game in franchise history, and soon it could mean the longest losing streak in the history of the Raptors as well.

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