It seems as though Wednesday night's victory over the San Antonio Spurs didn't exactly go as the Toronto Raptors had planned.
The Raptors are now full steam ahead with their tanking and will be resting Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby on Friday night against the Orlando Magic. They are joined on the Raptors injury list by DeAndre’ Bembry (right hamstring), Jalen Harris (right hip), and Gary Trent Jr. (right ankle) are all doubtful.
It will be the third straight game in which Lowry has missed since returning from a right foot infection and both Anunoby and Siakam have each rested at least one of the team's last two games.
The Raptors' decision to rest their star players comes while the team is still very much alive for a play-in spot. They sit just one game back of the Chicago Bulls for the 10th seed in the Eastern Conference and Chicago will reportedly be without Zach Lavine for "several games" after the star player was placed in the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Toronto will, however, have Fred VanVleet back in the lineup after the 27-year-old served his one-game suspension on Wednesday afternoon. He had previously been battling a hip injury but has been cleared to return.
If Toronto does lose to Orlando on Friday, the Raptors will 2.5 games back of the Magic who currently have the fourth-best lottery odds and a 48.1% chance at landing a top-four pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.