Less said about Celtics loss the better for the Raptors as regular season comes to a close
Fred VanVleet just beat a Raptors record (assists in a game) that had stood since the earliest days of the Raptors, so maybe it would be fun to see some more history on Sunday afternoon in the regular season finale.
A win would mean a 41-41 finish, which would be just the second time in the franchise’s 27 seasons that has happened (the 2007-08 team also did it). Or, this team would join the 2009-10 team as the only Raptors squads to go 40-42.
One would think the active Raptors (Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and O.G. Anunoby will be getting the game off) will show some pride, following one of the worst efforts of the season Friday in Boston, but trying to figure out this group has been impossible.
Milwaukee has already ruled out its two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounpo, defensive player of the year candidate Brook Lopez and the injured Khris Middleton, along with two of its key wings.
What’s your best guess for the final Raptors starting lineup of the season (assuming nobody else gets held out):
I’ll go with:
Gary Trent Jr.
Or Flynn out, Precious Achiuwa in.
The less said about that Boston game, the better.
AROUND THE RIM:
- In four games this month Barnes has been decent in two, and awful (by his high standards) in two others, including the last one against Boston. Is it the wrist? If Barnes isn’t close to 100%, the chances of winning the play-in game against Chicago decrease significantly.
- It’s not great when your positive takeaways from a game are one good quarter combined from your six best players.
- Was nice to see Dalano Banton back in action (and hitting two three-pointers). Still think there might be something there with Banton.
- Obviously Boston is led by its superstars Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but the team’s depth is a major strength as well. Five regular Celtics reserves would be key Raptors.
- It’s been a rough season for Precious Achiuwa, but he appears to be rounding into form.
- If you’re scoring at home, basketball-reference.com has the Raptors at 27.3% to advance from the play-in to the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls at 26%, Miami at 72% and Atlanta at 74.7%. I actually have a lot more faith in Miami than Atlanta though (as does fivethirtyeight.com, which has the Raptors as way more likely than Chicago and Miami more likely than the Hawks. The odds probably look at the fact the No. 7 seed with homecourt advantage is 4-0 so far in the play-in over the No. 8. In the 9 vs. 10 game, No. 9s are 4-0 with only one of the games being close.
- With Jimmy Butler unlikely to play Sunday, it appears Anunoby will win the steals per game title (as well as total steals, despite all the games he’s missed). Only one Raptor, Marcus Camby in 1997-98, has ever led the NBA in either points, assists, steals, blocks or rebounds. Camby never played another game for the Raptors after doing so. There’s always a chance Anunoby could follow suit in the off-season.
- (Jose Calderon once led the NBA in free throws as a Raptor and Jason Kapono led the NBA in three-point percentage as a Raptor. Calderon also led the league in three-point percentage, though he split that season in Toronto and Detroit).
THREE STARS VS. CELTICS
1 Sam Hauser
2 Precious Achiuwa
3 Peyton Pritchard
Honourable mention: Jayson Tatum, Pascal Siakam, Robert Williams III
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