Depleted Raptors drop a 115-96 decision to Leonard and Clippers

Depleted Raptors drop a 115-96 decision to Leonard and Clippers

TAMPA, Fla. — Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse hopes his players keep the frustration of this bizarre NBA season front of mind when they head into the off-season.

They can lump Tuesday’s 115-96 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers into that.

Chris Boucher had 16 points and seven rebounds in his first game since missing nine with a sprained knee. Khem Birch added 13 points for the depleted Raptors (27-42), while Malachi Flynn had 11. Freddie Gillespie, DeAndre’ Bembry and Jalen Harris chipped in with 10 points apiece.

The game came a night after the Raptors were officially eliminated from post-season contention, just two years removed from their thrilling run to the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

“Hopefully it’ll sting a little bit this summer,” Nurse said. “We’ll feel that sting in the summer workouts, things like that to get ourselves back to where we’re used to being.”

Former Raptors star Kawhi Leonard and Terance Mann had 20 points apiece for the Clippers (46-23), who are still manoeuvring from post-season conference seeding. Ivica Zubac added 18 points.

With an eye on evaluation and development, Nurse sent out a franchise-record 35th different starting lineup of the season for the game. Just nine players dressed. Veterans Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby were among the ones who didn’t.

The young Raptors were no match for a Clippers squad that built a 17-point lead in the second quarter, and had stretched it to 18 by midway through the third.

The Raptors will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2013, a post-season streak that started with the entertaining series against Brooklyn that saw the launch of Jurassic Park and “We The North.”

“It’s certainly not easy to get a seven-year run,” Nurse said before the game. “I think first of all the organization, and all of us, should be proud of that.

“And then on the other hand, it’s disappointing. I thought we played about as well as we could last year and with a break or two could have kept on rolling who knows how far a year ago. And to kinda come back and be where we are today, it’s very disappointing, and it’s a little sad, to be honest, to have that run. It was a hell of a run.”

The Raptors were coming off five consecutive 50-win seasons, and won nine playoff series since 2013.

In a season that Nurse has said didn’t have road blocks, it had cement walls, the displaced Raptors tumbled down the Eastern Conference standings during a COVID-19 outbreak in March. Numerous players including Lowry and VanVleet, who comically badgered the officials from the bench on Tuesday, missed multiple games to injuries virtually ever since.

On Tuesday, Leonard — whose historic four-bounce buzzer-beater against Philadelphia in the 2019 conference semifinals was two years ago Wednesday — led the way with nine points in the first quarter and the Clippers led 27-19 to start the second.

Marcus Morris’s three-pointer late in the second quarter made it a 17-point difference, but the Raptors closed the half with a 13-4 run and headed into halftime trailing 60-52.

Paul George had nine points for L.A. in the third, and the Clippers led 85-71 with one quarter to play.

Former Raptor Serge Ibaka, who signed with the Clippers last off-season, didn’t play.

Nurse had kind words for the Congolese big man before the game.

“I really enjoyed him … I certainly was (disappointed he left). I think our team was. I think our organization was,” Nurse said.

The Raptors are in Chicago on Thursday and Dallas on Friday, then host Indiana in their season finale on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

The Canadian Press

NBA

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

Dharmesh Goradia, and his daughter Vidhi and wife Chaitali, at the 2017 festival for the Godess Durga, held at the Golden Circle. (Photo contributed)
Draft curriculum misses the mark for central Alberta Hindu society

Meeting scheduled with Alberta Education officials

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Alberta’s tourism sector hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ATB Financial

Between border closures, public health measures and hesitancy to travel, Alberta’s tourism… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A man wears a face mask as he walks by a sign for a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, May 16, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canada paid a premium to get doses from Pfizer earlier than planned

OTTAWA — Canada paid a premium to get more than 250,000 doses… Continue reading

The Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C., is shown in this 1930 handout photo. HO — Deschatelets-NDC Archives
Calls grow for Ottawa to review settlement decisions for residential school survivors

Lawyer Teri Lynn Bougie still cries when she talks about the final… Continue reading

Syringes are readied at a COVID-19 mobile vaccination clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, Friday, April 30, 2021 in Montreal. Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for Canada to donate some of its doses to other countries or international aid organizations and in at least three cases, for the doses to be resold.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada’s vaccine contracts allow for doses to be donated, in some cases resold

OTTAWA — Most of the federal contracts for COVID-19 vaccines allow for… Continue reading

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, responds to the report on the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, in Vancouver, on Monday June 3, 2019. As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Two sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

VANCOUVER — As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after… Continue reading

A woman sits and weeps at the scene of Sunday's hate-motivated vehicle attack in London, Ont. on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. Four members of a family in London, Ont., are set to be buried today. The public has been invited to help celebrate the lives of Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman.THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Geoff Robins
Funeral to be held today for London family killed in attack

LONDON, Ont. — Four members of a Muslim family killed in what… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden listen to United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliver opening remarks at a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, United Kingdom Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau to discuss foreign policy with G7 leaders at second day of summit meeting

CARBIS BAY, CORNWALL, ENGLAND — Foreign policy is on the agenda for… Continue reading

Most Read