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Toronto Raptors Lose Third Straight, Fall Flat Against Rival Boston Celtics

After experiencing a hot streak of sorts just a little over a week ago, the Toronto Raptors have started to struggle.

Finding themselves in a tough stretch of games against some of the powerhouses of the Eastern Conference, the Raptors will need to dig deeper if they hope to come away with statement victories. The fact is, the conference is deep and if the Raptors hope to make the postseason, they will need to find ways to compete against the best.

“It’s funny, I was just talking to Bobby Webster, our GM, on the way over and I said, ‘Man, the league is competitive this year,’” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “Just watching games on a night-to-night basis, teams are really playing hard and I think there is a lot going on.

“He kind of started a conversation about the East. I won’t repeat it exactly but this will give you a sense. He started going through the teams, listed a whole bunch of them, and he forgot like four. That’s kind of what you do: Brooklyn and Milwaukee, and then you forget four teams that are pretty good. It’s really deep, super competitive. The games each night are really good.”

Nurse is right – the Conference may be as good as it has ever been with no one team clearly ahead of the pack.

On Wednesday night, the story was Jayson Tatum’s 22 points and huge secondary efforts, as the Celtics outlasted the Raptors who simply could not string consistent offensive possessions together at any point in the night. Scottie Barnes had a phenomenal 21 point and seven rebound game, while Fred VanVleet added 16 points in the loss, but it was Pascal Siakam who, in his second game back from injury, struggled to get his offense going.

“I was just was trying to reassure him and keep telling him: just keep going ’till you figure it out. He’s finding himself, finding his legs,” said VanVleet. “It’s a different lineup, you know, without a big out there most of the time and the spacing is a little different. … I think it’s gonna take some time, obviously, and we would all like for it to be tonight or yesterday or whatever. But, you know, that’s not how those things work. So we just got to stay together and keep working.”

The Raptors will look to get back into the win column on Thursday when they take on the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers.

Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris are among four Sixers players who remain in COVID protocol, while Seth Curry will be a game-time decision as he is dealing with a foot injury. Of course, we all know what the deal is with Ben Simmons.

Point is, these are the types of games the Raptors cannot afford to lose. It’s time to get back on track.

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