September 27, 2023

The Toronto Raptors got here away with a 112-98 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, however that does little to maneuver the needle compared to the bigger storyline looming over the group’s head.

The Raptors, very like the remainder of the NBA, have their consideration towards Thursday’s commerce deadline. Their matchup in opposition to the Spurs finally marked the ultimate time we’ll see this iteration of the Raptors, as they’ve been on the centre of a plethora of trade rumours. Hours following the sport, the group reportedly struck a deal to accumulate the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl in alternate for Khem Birch and draft picks.

“We now have loads of good gamers on a group that is not profitable. In order that’s just about it,” mentioned Fred VanVleet, who notes that his title’s been in commerce rumours greater than ever.

“We have not performed as much as our commonplace this yr. And so we put ourselves on this place. There’s going to be in all probability each group within the league calling.”

Towards a Spurs group that’s now misplaced 10 straight to carry a 14-41 file, these matchups are presupposed to be routine work for a win. Nonetheless, the Raptors’ season has been something however predictable. With the win, the group strikes to tenth within the East — adequate for the final play-in spot — nevertheless it doesn’t cowl up the very fact the Raptors nonetheless maintain their worst file by way of 56 video games for the reason that 2012-13 season.

What will this Raptors team look like post-deadline? We'll find out soon. (Getty)

What is going to this Raptors group appear to be post-deadline? We’ll discover out quickly. (Getty)

In a league that doesn’t have fun mediocrity, conversations across the Raptors have been centred round if GM Bobby Webster and President Masai Ujiri ought to blow up this roster, or add to at least one that absolutely does have its vibrant spots.

On Wednesday, we had been reminded of these vibrant spots, as all 5 starters completed with double-digits, to go together with an 18-point double-double from Chris Boucher off the bench. It secured their third-straight win — a feat they’ve solely completed twice this season.

“I feel that as a group, with all of the [trade] talks, we’re doing a extremely good job of staying constructive and staying collectively,” mentioned Boucher post-game.

Main the best way for the Raptors was Pascal Siakam, who, together with 10 rebounds and 7 assists, completed with 38 factors, ending a 13-game streak the place he hasn’t eclipsed the 30-point mark. The six-foot-nine ahead received straight to work in opposition to the Spurs, opening the primary body with 18 factors on 7-7 taking pictures from the sector.

“He confirmed he was actually conscious of what was obtainable and was prepared to take them proper and simply good tempo and rhythm for him tonight,” mentioned Nurse, noting Pascal’s capacity to get in a “nice rhythm on his mid vary.”

Fred VanVleet additionally chipped in with eight factors within the first quarter, as he and Siakam collectively outscored the Spurs within the body 26-24.

It helped the Raptors go on a 14-0 run at one level to take an early lead.

The Spurs’ defensive depth received them again within the sport within the second quarter, however the Raptors had been in a position to regain their footing within the third quarter, going up by as a lot as 18 factors. It was notably behind the play of Gary Trent Jr. and VanVleet, whose names proceed to swirl in commerce rumours.

Each are eligible to change into free brokers this summer time. To go along with O.G. Anunoby — who missed his sixth straight sport with a left wrist sprain — the trio have caught the eye of a number of groups with championship aspirations.

“We received loads of guys that loads of groups need and we’re not in an amazing scenario,” mentioned VanVleet. “So the entrance workplace will do their factor and so they’ll do what’s greatest for the group and the remainder of us, you already know, we’ll come to work tomorrow, get a very good follow and see what occurs.”

In the other way, the Raptors’ resolution to accumulate Poeltl would not come as an enormous shock following the rumours related to each groups. The large man was initially drafted by Toronto as a lottery choose, however was traded within the deal that landed them Kawhi Leonard in 2018.

The Raptors’ season has been hindered by not having a dependable huge man of their lineup. In Scotiabank Enviornment on Wednesday, the Raptors did a stable job neutralizing Poeltl. Siakam attacked him persistently to make him work on defence, whereas on offence the Spurs’ centre completed with 12 factors on 4-11 taking pictures.

Earlier than the matchup, Nurse had excessive reward for the seven-foot-one centre.

“We cherished him when he was right here. Only a actually good, good, powerful, exhausting employee,” mentioned Nurse, noting his capacity to set stable screens, rebound and shield the rim.

It stays to be seen if there will probably be any new faces becoming a member of Poeltl in Toronto because the Raptors return to Scotiabank Enviornment on Friday, Feb. 10.

Extra from Yahoo Sports activities

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