Finish Line Nears

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Siakam Leaves with Shoulder Strain, Hood Breaks Finger in Loss to Grizz

Just four more games remaining.

The Toronto Raptors are going to be a lottery team, but at what cost?

After suffering yet another loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday evening, the Raptors lose Rodney Hood for the season with a fractured finger. Meanwhile, Pascal Siakam left the game with a shoulder strain and did not return. Barring any miracle, it appears that his season has also come to an end.

Otherwise, as the Raptors continue to look towards the Draft, the remaining four games still present some value, especially to the younger guys.

“I think there’s probably a level of cleaning up their game a little bit,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse before Saturday’s game. “Instead of having 13 things we’re thinking about, maybe have three things we do repeatedly really well. And then when we get those three, we go to four. Most of the time, it’s let’s make sure you’re doing what we see as your strengths and staying away from your weaknesses so you can play well, and you can play well for the team. And then you kinda keep inching forward with some other things.

“You know how it is, one year the guy can’t go left, and he works on it all summer and he can go left, and the next year he’s got a jump hook, and the next year he’s got a fadeaway. There’s always things to keep adding. I’m mostly, though, evaluating are they playing winning basketball? And I don’t mean by the scoreboard. I mean are they in each possession playing the right way, and things that’ll help us translate to winning basketball.”

On Saturday, Malachi Flynn continued to flourish, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven boards, while Gary Trent scored 18 points, albeit on a tough shooting night. Second round pick Jalen Harris continued his strong play scoring a career-high 16 points in the 109-99 loss.

“He’s pretty confident, that’s the one thing. I didn’t think he was having a particularly good game tonight, just in general. And then he kept staying with it, and he took his game to a decent level,” said Nurse of Flynn. “A really good level in the fourth quarter. That takes some courage, and that takes some confidence to play through some stuff, and then make some shots and make some plays.”

“I’m just trying to capitalize on opportunity, mostly,” said Harris of the chance he got Saturday night. “I’ve been doing a lot of work throughout the year throughout the off-season before and all that and so I just want to be able to go out there and help the team win and be able to do whatever I can to help them win. And so I think they’ve been finding more opportunities for me and I’ve just been trying to capitalize.”

Four more games left on the docket, the Raptors will now move onto the Los Angeles Clippers before heading on one final road trip.

Their time in Tampa Bay is quickly coming to an end.

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