The “Drake curse” isn’t the only thing Toronto sports fans have to be concerned about these days. The two seed Raptors had a very discouraging loss to the Philadelphia 76ers last night 116-95. Now the difference between Toronto continuing to contend in the east and dropping down to the lottery for the next few years is in the balance in a must win game 4.
Initially, when looking at this series the decisive advantage Toronto was supposed to have over the 76ers is how much deeper and more complete of a team they have. Shockingly the Raptors bench, which legitimately goes nine guys deep, has gotten thoroughly destroyed by the Philly bench this entire series.
With Philly having the best starting five in basketball outside of Golden State, if Toronto doesn’t take advantage of their lack of depth with good bench play they have no shot in this series whatsoever.
The Raptors solid ancillary pieces like Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka and others have been hot garbage throughout these playoffs. Meanwhile, James Ennis III, Mike Scott, and Greg Monroe have surprisingly provided good minutes for the opposition.
To make matters worse, five-time all-star and longest tenured Raptor who runs the whole show at the point guard position in Kyle Lowry, is once again playing like a complete bum this postseason. Lowry finished with a whopping 7 points last night shooting 2-10 from the field.
— Nick L. 🇩🇿🇨🇦 (@Uber_Blogger) May 3, 2019
Time and time again this guy has wet the bed in the biggest moments. It clearly doesn’t matter if former Raptor star Demar DeRozan or Kawhi is Lowry’s running mate. The dude simply doesn’t have what it takes when push comes to shove.
So outside of young rising star Pascal Siakam, who will probably win Most Improved Player honors this June, the great Kawhi Leonard is being left out to dry with little to no support this postseason. In the few minutes he’s gone to the bench Toronto looks like a bunch of lost sheep out there, unable to find any source of reliable offense without him.
The two time defensive player of the year whose also averaging more than 30 points this postseason is arguably a top two player in the NBA right now. Toronto is currently squandering their chance to maintain this all-time great player who gives them the only chance to win titles in the future.
Backs are now against the wall and Toronto is in must-win scenario Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia for game 4. Do I trust Kyle Lowry, this underperforming bench, and a rookie head coach to step up in this gut-check moment? Not even a little bit.
With their franchise face Kawhi Leonard hitting free agency this summer, and multiple reports he’s had his sights on L.A for some time now, the Raptors don’t have much to look forward to other than great draft picks for the next few years.
What NBA stars hitting free agency will elect to play in Canada? None that we’ve seen in the past and I don’t see that changing in the future. When Kawhi leaves, most likely for the Clippers, you’re going to be devoid of hope for building a championship contender for some time in Toronto.
Congrats to Philadelphia fans. The most nauseating and unrealistic fan base at long last has an actual reason to boast about their Sixers. They’ll take care of Toronto in five or six and move on to the Eastern Conference finals, a place they haven’t been in a long time. While Philly fans spend this time on their high horse they better hope they take on Milwaukee and not the Celtics in the next round.