TORONTO – After a fifth consecutive loss and eighth in 10 outings, Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet lamented the team’s slide is unacceptable.
Jordan Poole poured in a career-high 43 points as the Stephen Curry-less Golden State Warriors defeated the Raptors 126-110 on Sunday at Scotiabank Arena.
“This is a terrible stretch,” VanVleet said. “You don’t want this. You don’t expect this, and you can’t accept this. It’s where we are. There’s a lot of basketball left to be played, and there’s a lot of time to fix it.”
VanVleet pointed to last season when the Raptors were mired in a similar slump.
“We looked like this for long stretches last year as well,” he said. “There were ups and downs at the beginning of last year, looked a little bleak at times, and we got hot late in the year.
“There’s good stretches and bad stretches throughout the course of the season. We’re in a bad stretch that needs to stop immediately. And we’ll try to find ways to do that. All it takes is one win to get the vibes back. Losing, it sucks. It’s hard to deal with when you’re expecting to win. So we’re in it right now.”
The five-game slide is the Raptors’ (13-17) most prolonged dry spell since they dropped seven in a row to conclude the 2020-21 season.
Meanwhile, the defending-champion Warriors (15-16) halted a three-game losing streak.
Poole went 14-of-23 from the field, including five three-pointers, to top his previous best of 38 points. Golden State sharpshooter Klay Thompson chipped in 17 points, while Draymond Green and JaMychal Green were good for 17 and 15, respectively.
“It was kind of cool to get over 40,” Poole said. “But more importantly, it was good to get a road win. Everybody needs to step up when one of your leaders goes down, and everybody did that tonight.”
VanVleet and head coach Nick Nurse believe the Raptors need to regain their determination on the defensive end.
“Our defence was not very good, and they were getting whatever they wanted,” VanVleet said.
“That’s the first time at home we have come out with one of those defensive performances where we just couldn’t really keep up with them, or find them, or protect the rim, or guard,” Nurse added.
Pascal Siakam led the way for the Raptors with 27 points, while VanVleet finished with 22. VanVleet was coming off back-to-back 39-point outings.
Toronto forward Scottie Barnes added 17 points.
Siakam opened the game with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Raptors a 6-3 lead. However, that was the final time the home side would have a lead in the game.
On the strength of Draymond Green’s 13 first-quarter points, including three consecutive three-pointers, the Warriors held a 36-26 advantage after the opening frame.
Despite beginning the second with a 5-0 run, the Raptors were behind 68-54 at halftime. Poole did most of the damage with 15 points in the frame for a first-half total of 25.
Golden State enjoyed a 102-80 edge after three quarters.
Curry missed his second game with a left shoulder ailment, and Canadian Andrew Wiggins (groin) was also out.
Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. (quadriceps) missed his second straight outing.
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse expects forward O.G. Anunoby to return to action at some point this week. Anunoby missed his fourth straight game on Sunday with a left hip strain and injured shooting hand
Nurse also revealed Anunoby had been dealing with an unspecified illness.
“I expect him back this week, sometime,” Nurse said. “What (the medical staff) said, is he’s back and through his sickness, and both his hand and his hip are improving.”
The Raptors hit the road for three games, beginning on Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers, followed the New York Knicks on Wednesday and Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2022.