Raptors look to blend with new players when Cavaliers visit

Dec 30, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots on Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) in the second half at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors will start the new year with a new-look roster Monday night when they host the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Raptors sent OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn to the New York Knicks for RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and a 2024 second-round draft choice Saturday.

The Raptors also made news later on Saturday with a 129-127 road loss to the Detroit Pistons, who had lost their previous 28 games to tie an NBA record. Toronto’s roster was depleted because of the trade.

The Cavaliers are coming off a 119-111 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, a game in which they led by as many as 15 points.

Pascal Siakam led the Raptors with 35 points on Saturday as they lost for the fifth time in six games. Dennis Schroder added 30 points and nine assists.

There had been trade rumors swirling around the team for weeks.

“This is the NBA, that’s the thing, right? Like we got to be robots and just move on,” Siakam said. “Because that’s what it is. We get paid for it, right? So you have to move on… (but) it sucks. It’s not easy. For some people (it) is the first time, but I’ve seen it happen. So I understand.

“But, you know, we have got to be able to move on from it. That’s what it’s about. It’s a business and you learn about it every day, and every day you try to just be out there, you know, like look out for yourself, look out for your teammates and do the best that you can.”

Siakam’s efforts were not enough against the Pistons, who already had the longest single-season losing streak in league history and were looking at moving past the 28 straight games the Philadelphia 76ers lost over two seasons in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.

“I’m really proud of the energy that our guys gave, taking everything into account, late coming here (after arriving from Boston following a loss to the Celtics on Friday) and a very emotional day for everybody.” Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said. “I also don’t want to take away from what Detroit did. Congrats to them. They played a really good game. … They deserved that win.”

In acquiring Barrett, the Raptors get a player who is from the Toronto area and is an important member of Canada’s national team.

Quickley, however, could be the key to the deal. In his fourth season, he has only started 27 games in his career and never averaged 29 minutes a game, but he has shown that he can create offense.

At Cleveland, Donovan Mitchell (illness) returned to the Cavaliers’ lineup after missing four games. He had 34 points, nine assists and six rebounds in 36 minutes.

“He’s Donovan Mitchell for a reason,” Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “I think he needs to get back into the flow a little bit. Some of those shots that he had that he normally makes from behind the arc, those could be attested to just legs and being off for a while. But I thought he was dynamic.”

Jarrett Allen added a career-best 30 points on 15-for-17 shooting and added 12 rebounds and six assists.

“I feel like I’m being more aggressive, just trying to find my spots to score and even create more for myself,” Allen said. “I feel like I’m going slower with the ball, being more methodical about making the right pass.”

–Field Level Media

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