Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors Twitter, @raptors
The Toronto Raptors concluded their final game of the season falling 125-113 to the Indiana Pacers on Sunday afternoon. The Raptors finish the season with a 27-45 record as they drop their seventh game in a row and will make an early exit into the offseason for the first time since 2013.
With this win, the Pacers clinch the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference as they prepare for the play-in tournament and a chance to play in the 2021 playoffs.
The Raptors set a franchise record with their 38th different starting lineup for this game with eight players unavailable including all their key starters. The Raptors kept their bench short playing with only six players for the game.
The six-man unit for the Raptors was led by Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month Malachi Flynn who led the way with 27 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists, along with 2 steals on the defensive end. Flynn was followed by Stanley Johnson (24 pts, 5 rebs, 7 ast), DeAndre’ Bembry (23 pts, 5 reb, 4 ast), Khem Birch (18 pts, 14 rebs) and Freddie Gillespie (7 pts and 10 rebs) who all played well in the starting rotation. The Raps also received a big spark from Aron Baynes who finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 3 triples off the bench.
Toronto did their best to try and contain the Pacers who came into this matchup looking to secure their play-in spot. Former Raptor Oshae Brissett led the way for Indiana with a career-high performance against his old club, scoring 31 points and 10 rebounds along with 5 threes on 62.5% shooting from the field. Brissett was followed by All-Star teammate Domantas Sabonis who exposed the Raptors’ down low with 27 points and 16 rebounds. T.J McConnell was a huge facilitator off the bench for the Pacers finishing with 12 points and 17 assists, contributing to the Pacers’ second best rank in the league for assists per game.
After a challenging season away from home, the Toronto Raptors will now look ahead to an eventful off-season. With the upcoming NBA Draft and Free Agency on the way, there are many decisions to be made by the Raptors to help bolster their team heading into next year. Here’s to hoping the Raps will be back home playing at Scotiabank Arena and back in the playoffs for the 2021-22 season.