Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) throws Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) to the floor after a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Looking on is guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O’Meara

Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) throws Los Angeles Lakers guard Dennis Schroder (17) to the floor after a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Looking on is guard Gary Trent Jr. (33) THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Chris O’Meara

Suspensions leave Raptors short again but help on the way

Bembry and VanVleet were suspended for leaving the bench

The Toronto Raptors have been dealt another blow.

Guard Fred VanVleet and guard/forward DeAndre Bembry have been suspended one game after a recent on-court altercation — more bad news for the reeling Raptors, who plummeted down the Eastern Conference standings amid a COVID-19 outbreak.

Suspensions and injuries left Toronto with just eight players — the league minimum — against the visiting Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

“It’s a little tricky as you might imagine with eight. We just try to keep guys from going too long extended,” coach Nick Nurse said before tipoff.

Forward OG Anunoby was fined US$30,000 for the altercation that occurred late in the first quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 110-101 win over Toronto on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. Anunoby received a technical foul and was ejected after grabbing Dennis Schroder by the leg and “recklessly flipping him to the ground after the two became entangled following a common foul committed by Schroder,” the NBA said in a statement.

Bembry and VanVleet were suspended for leaving the bench. Bembry was scheduled to serve his suspension Thursday night, while VanVleet, who’s missed the past two games with a hip injury, must serve his suspension in the next regular-season game for which he’s eligible and physically able to play.

There is some help on the way. The Raptors signed forward Freddie Gillespie to a 10-day contract. The six-foot-nine Gillespie averaged 10.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 15 games with the Memphis Hustle in the NBA G League bubble. He shot 57 per cent from the field and recorded six double-doubles.

Nurse wasn’t sure when the newcomer would be available.

“It’s just a matter of getting him through the testing and the protocols. As soon as he does that, we get him in and go to work and see what we can teach him before a game comes so he can go out there and function a little bit,” Nurse said.

Canadian forward Khem Birch is also expected to sign with the Raptors according to multiple reports after being waived by Orlando.

The Montreal native is averaging 5.3 points and 5.1 rebounds in 20 minutes per game this season. Birch played for Nurse with Canada’s national team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The Raptors went into Thursday’s meeting with Chicago having lost seven of their 10 games, and sitting two games behind the Bulls for 10th in the Eastern Conference. The freefall came in March after an outbreak of COVID-19 sidelined three starters, among others.

Starting guard Kyle Lowry also missed his sixth game on Thursday with a foot infection.

Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker received a one-game suspension for the altercation, while Montrezl Harrell was fined US$20,000 for entering the altercation and shoving Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2021.

raptors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Regional Airport CEO Graham Ingham has ambitious plans for the airport. (Advocate file photo).
Red Deer Regional Airport revenues climb in 2020

Bringing in more business is the 2021 goal, says director

City council will have to wait longer to hear back from administration on possible alternative sites — if the homeless shelter is moved from Red Deer downtown. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Alternative sites for homeless shelter will be explored by the City of Red Deer

Council gave administration more time to return with a report

Quentin Lee Strawberry was found not guilty of second-degree murder in connection with stabbing death of Joseph Gallant in March 2019. (Photo from RCMP)
Updated: O’Chiese man found not guilty of 2019 stabbing death of Red Deer man

Quentin Strawberry found guilty of assaulting murdered man’s common-law partner

(Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer property tax bills are in the mail

Red Deer 2021 tax notices are on their way. Red Deer property… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Dominik Kahun (21) celebrates with teammate Connor McDavid (97) after scoring the third goal against Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen (34) during second-period NHL hockey action in Montreal, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Canadiens clinch playoff spot with single point, fall to McDavid and Oilers in OT

Rory McIlroy tees off on the fourth hole during the fourth round of the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow on Sunday, May 9, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

McIlroy ends 18 months without winning at Quail Hollow

Canada , left to right, lead Briane Meilleur, third Val Sweeting, skip Kerri Einarson, and second Shannon Birchard discuss strategy against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. Both of Canada's teams were shut out of the medals, marking the first time ever that Canada did not reach the podium at either the men's or women's worlds in the same season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Bubble Wrap: Fresh questions for Canada after medal shutout at curling worlds

Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Oilers plan to keep playing McDavid, Draisaitl as NHL regular season winds down

Canada's Tyler Ardron, right, tries to block the kick by Italy's Callum Braley during the Rugby World Cup Pool B match in Fukuoka, western Japan, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kyodo News via AP
Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

Canadian men to face Wales and England in July rugby test matches

John Velazquez, right, rides Medina Spirit ahead of Florent Geroux aboard Mandaloun to win the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Louisville, Ky. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Darron Cummings
Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Casse believes colleague Baffert deserves “due process” folowing positive test

Canada forward Liam Millar (23) moves the ball past Bermuda defender Eusebio Blankendal (2) during the second half of a World Cup 2022 Group B qualifying soccer match Thursday, March 25, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-John Raoux
Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Canadian men to play next two World Cup qualifying matches in the U.S.

Winnipeg Jets' Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

Most Read