The Toronto Raptors can be excused for losing against a healthy Boston Celtics team on the road. Even the best in the league struggle with that. However, given who their next opponent is, there is a very good chance that Scottie Barnes and the rest of the squad were looking forward to Saturday.
Toronto was defeated 120-118 by a shorthanded Celtics team that did not have three of their six best players in Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis, and Al Horford. The Raptors won't even get 24 hours to rest before their next game, as the lowly Detroit Pistons will square off against Darko Rajakovic's team.
The Pistons are losers of 28 straight games, which has set a new NBA record. However, after they took the Celtics to overtime and got an extra day of rest before playing the Raptors, many seem to be of the mindset that Saturday will be the day Monty Williams finally breaks the streak.
In a season that has been so humiliating, as the front office's collective decision not to embrace a rebuild and inability to maximize Scottie Barnes' talent has been tough to watch, losing to a team that literally hasn't won in months would be the final crack that eventually forces the dam to break.
Toronto Raptors' loss to Celtics sets up potentially humiliating game vs. Pistons
The Celtics started Sam Hauser and Luke Kornet in place of Tatum and Porzingis, but you wouldn't have known that based on how hot Boston started the game offensively. Imagine what Cade Cunningham is going to do against a defense that is leaking coolant at a frightening rate now.
The Raptors not only beat the Pistons earlier in the season, they demolished them to the tune of 142 points and a new franchise record for assists in a single game. That doesn't mean victory is guaranteed just because Toronto beat the stuffing out of them at a prior date.
Some fans may want Toronto to tank, but the players going out there every night are trying their damndest to win. There's no way to spin or sugarcoat it; a loss to a Pistons team that is losing at an unprecedented clip would perhaps be the lowest point in a season that seems to be coming up with even rockier bottoms on the fly.
Detroit has broken basketball. Teams are now looking ahead of games against contenders just to make sure they won't be the team who snaps the Pistons' streak. For a regular season game between two very bad teams on the second-to-last day of the year, the intrigue is bubbling.