Uninspiring Win

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OG Anunoby Returns as Raptors Blowout Depleted Warriors Team

This was a forgone conclusion right from the jump.

For fans in attendance, hoping to see the Western Conference powerhouse at full force, they were subjected to watching a plethora of no-names take on their Toronto Raptors team.

The list of inactives was unlike any in recent memory as Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson, Otto Porter, and James Wiseman were all out of action. Wiseman and Thompson, of course, are still ramping up as they rehab separate injuries.

Yet, all the Raptors could do is beat the opponent placed in front of them and that is exactly what they did on Saturday night.

In OG Anunoby’s return to the lineup, the Raptors took care of business, routing the Warriors by a score of 119-100, improving to 14-15 on the season. Unfortunately, the win was overshadowed by a rampant increase in COVID cases due to the novel Omicron strain that has laid waste to just about every NBA roster.

“It feels like the whole league now is in a precarious spot,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game. “We factored in the differences in the rules [in Canada] and how that might manifest itself long-term. Every day you open up the internet and read about 10 or 15 players going in [to the protocols]. We are in the midst of a really rough schedule and we have guys banged up, so we made the decision to do what we did thinking this was going to protect our team going forward.”

Shortly before the game, Pascal Siakam entered the league’s health and safety protocol after testing positive for COVID-19.

“There’s a heck of a lot of testing going on right is all I can say,” Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said. “We’ll continue to test and hopefully it’ll just be a precautionary thing.”

Despite the weakened opposition, Fred VanVleet and rookie Scottie Barnes led the way for the Raptors. VanVleet finished the night with 27 points and 12 assists, coming three rebounds shy of a triple-double, while Barnes scored 21 points, while grabbing eight boards and dishing out six assists on a very efficient 8-of-12 shooting. Precious Achiuwa had a big game off the bench in his return, scoring 17 points. In his first game action since November 15, Anunoby scored 7 points in 27 minutes of play.

“I think the whole game certainly had less buzz to it,” Nurse said, commenting on the growing COVID concerns. “You know that place would have been electric in there on a night like tonight. With a full house and one of the premier teams in the league in town it would have been totally electric, and it was OK. I mean we’ll take any win any way we can get them but it was certainly lacking from a juice standpoint.”

The Raptors will take on the Orlando Magic on Monday as they continue to navigate through what will be a strange next few months.

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