Exhaust fans not dead for the Toronto Raptors
Toronto’s Raptors will be without their biggest star on Monday night, and it won’t be for much longer.
The team announced Tuesday it will not field a single player at all against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Raptors will instead be without four key players: C.J. Miles (shoulder), Terrence Ross (right hip), Jonas Valanciunas (right elbow) and J.R. Smith (right wrist).
The Raptors have also lost two of their top five scorers, as Kyle Lowry is out for the season after surgery on his right knee and Serge Ibaka is dealing with an injury to his right ankle.
The injury to Lowry has caused the Raptors to take a step back in their pace of play and will likely cause the team to struggle offensively, too.
Lowry is averaging a career-low 15.8 points and 3.6 assists per game, while Ross is shooting 47.7 percent and Valancunas is shooting 42.4 percent.
The other key contributor to Toronto’s bench is rookie big man Josh Powell, who has shot 37.5 percent from the field in six games.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Ross said after practice Tuesday.
“Obviously, I don’t know how much we can do, but I’m just disappointed for the guys on the team.”
It was only the second time in team history that Lowry has missed at least six games with a sprained ankle.
He suffered the injury in the first quarter of Toronto’s win over the Orlando Magic on Dec. 30, 2013.
Lowry has been out of the lineup for nearly three weeks.
The Raptors’ bench, which features Lowry, Terrence Jones, Jonas Valanevski, Valanic and Ibaka, is coming off a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday.
The bench unit has scored just 23.5 points per game.
This is the fourth time in the last five years that Toronto has missed the playoffs.
Defensively, Toronto has allowed an average of 103.7 points during its last six games, the most since 2009-10.
However, the Raptors have won the past three games, including a 103-97 win over Brooklyn on Monday.
Toronto’s last victory came in December, when it defeated Milwaukee 99-95.
Toronto was 4-8 in its last 11 games heading into the matchup with Philadelphia.