Not as shorthanded, not as overwhelmed, not nearly as bad, but the end result would be the same.
Even with Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet back following time on the COVID-19 healthy and safety protocol, the deficiencies plaguing this team were once again exposed by the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.
Simply put, the Raptors can’t rebound, they continue to rely on too few players, have no reliable bench and when they miss so many three-point shots they are too vulnerable.
For the sixth straight game, the Raptors lost a game, this one a 116-112 setback to the host Pistons.
Kyle Lowry couldn’t make a shot from distance, Norm Powell couldn’t miss any shot for the most part and Siakam and VanVleet looked like they hadn’t played in weeks, which is to be expected.
Powell poured in a career-high 43 points, but once again missed at the foul line in the clutch.
Detroit allowed the Raptors to hang around because the Pistons couldn’t avoid turning the ball over and they nearly yielded a four-point play to Powell.
Toronto’s starting backcourt of Lowry and VanVleet shot a combined 4-for-26 to score a total of 20 points.
The tandem attempted 14 three-pointers.
Head coach Nick Nurse said post-game how there was no strict minutes limit on Siakam and VanVleet, each playing 30 and 32 minutes, respectively.
Nurse is fully aware of the team’s plight, which only worsens as the losses mount.
The NBA’s trade deadline is next Thursday.
“We understand it’s really difficult,’’ said Nurse of the Raptors, who haven’t experienced a six-game losing streak since 2012. “We got outplayed tonight.”
Having said that, a stop here, a made shot there and the outcome could have been different.
Saddiq Bey was brilliant for the Pistons, knocking down two big free throws in a pressure moment.
Bey represents the future for the Pistons.
The kid posted a double-double, one of three Detroit players to hit the feat on the night.
Toronto had no one.