I mean, tell me if you've heard (read?) this before.
As per Sportsnet's tweet -
Look, I can understand and appreciate not risking the health of one of your best players for the longterm. Quite frankly, the Raptors should be able to beat the Pelicans tonight without DeRozan, even if he wasn't hurt and Casey just decided to rest him because of the back-to-back. However, it's more of what is at stake here in terms of the standings and the lack of energy on the floor. Granted, it's still only January, if only for one more day, and the season is a little over half way through; there's plenty of games to play. Yet, with the fucking Celtics gaining momentum via Isaiah Thomas, and with the Raptors traveling to Boston tomorrow on a back-to-back without DeRozan, this is just terrible timing.
If you're reading this and saying to your screen, "Sure, but this won't make or break their playoff hopes, and the Raptors can afford to lose one to Boston. No big deal." I get you, but I disagree to some extent. Yes, losing the next two games probably won't make or break the Raptors playoff hopes and it's very likely that come the end of the season, the Raptors will finish number two in the Eastern Conference. This is all reasonably true. However, I do think that should the Raptors lose tonight to New Orleans, and subsequently lose to the Celtics tomorrow, that's just a hole that would be difficult to climb out of.
Let's not forget, the Pelicans haven't been playing as terribly as we'd expect them to lately. They're 5 of their last 10, which includes victories over the Cavaliers, the Spurs, and yes, the Magic - ya know, that team that the Raptors just coughed up a very winnable game to. Obviously, we can't simply deduce that since the Pelicans beat the Magic, and the Raptors just lost to the Magic, therefore the Raptors will lose to the Pelicans. That's just silly and stupid logic. However, the Raptors are 4 of their last 10, which includes losses to not just the Magic, but the 76ers, the Hornets, and the Suns in games that we would think they should just take. It's cause for concern, for sure (NOT panic...yet). What I'm getting at here is, without a healthy DeRozan coupled with the recent struggles the Raptors are having (I don't want to say they're playing like dog shit but....... yeah, they're playing like dog shit), it's hard to feel confident in the Raptors chances to turn this around.
Do I think it can be done? Of course, and like I said, tonight's game should be treated as a "righting the ship" game to get their asses back in gear. But I suppose, based on how poorly the Raptors have been performing, we should temper our expectations a bit.
But goddamnit! Of all games for DeRozan to miss, he's missing one against the fucking Celtics! Shit's weak.