Siakam, Trent and Flynn Return but Raptors Fall to 76ers in Close One
The Toronto Raptors COVID protocol list is starting to shrink.
On Tuesday evening, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr., and Malachi Flynn all returned for the Raptors and Fred VanVleet is expected to be back in the fold as early as today.
Still shorthanded, the Raptors took on the Philadelphia 76ers in front of a half-empty Scotiabank Arena crowd on Tuesday. Without a number of key pieces in the lineup, the Raptors fought but simply had no answer for Joel Embiid, who went off for 36 points and 11 rebounds en route to a 114-109 Sixers victory.
“Aw man, that’s a big guy, I won’t lie,” Boucher, who drew the assignment of covering Embiid. “… But it was a really great experience to play against an all-star like that and just realizing the stuff that you could do and how hard it is to to play against a guy like that. So I’ve learned a lot and hopefully I could take that to the next game and then whoever I’m playing against and just find ways to make myself like I said useful.”
Can’t wait to get back with the guys again 🙏🏽 trying to make sense of all the protocols but it is what it is! Feeling good see you soon. Let’s go @Raptors
— Fred VanVleet (@FredVanVleet) December 28, 2021
Although Boucher struggled to contain the near-100 pound heavier Embiid, the Canadian center put together one of the best stat sheets of his career, leading the Raptors with 28 points and 19 rebounds. Pascal Siakam added 28 points of his own in the loss, while Gary Trent Jr. scored 19 points in his return, albeit on a putrid 6-of-24 shooting night.
“I think this time around it was a little lighter, I would say,” said the returning Siakam, who was one of the Raptors who got COVID-19 prior to the all-star break last season and suffered mightily. “I remember that first time it was just a lot and just feeling really sick and my body losing a lot of weight, and just uncomfortable. This time around it felt like a cold, to be honest. My body didn’t go through that much. You just spend like eight, nine days without playing basketball and then you get out there on the floor and work out as soon as you can. So I think just those things, but in terms of the symptoms and stuff, it was OK.”
The Raptors will take on the Los Angeles Clippers on New Years Eve, as they hope to start seeing more of their regulars return to their ailing lineup.