VanVleet's double-double leads Raptors past depleted Warriors 119-100

·3 min read

TORONTO — Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors are doing their best to deal with the rapidly changing COVID-19 world these days.

Led by VanVleet's double-double of 27 points and 12 assists, Toronto dispatched a depleted Golden State Warriors 119-100 on Saturday after learning that Pascal Siakam and Dalano Banton both tested positive for COVID-19.

The two Raptors will miss 10 days as a result as more than 70 NBA players are currently mired in the health and safety protocols.

"We need to stay focused on the things you can control," said VanVleet. "We're all in a vulnerable situation, uncertain situation. The one thing that's constant is things will not be constant.

"There will be ups and downs and a lack of continuity. Here we are. I think we're all in it together. There are going to be a lot more things that come our way, obviously. Just focus on the work and our job and try to stay positive."

The game was played before 7,988 at Scotiabank Arena. 

The Raptors (14-15) home building can only be at 50 per cent capacity because of provincial pandemic regulations designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"I think the whole game just kind of had certainly a less buzz to it," said Toronto head coach Nick Nurse.

"With a full house in one of the premier teams in the league in town would have been totally electric, and that was O.K. We'll take any win any way we can get them right, but it was certainly from a juice standpoint, lacking for sure."

Precious Achiuwa knows all about being in the league's health and safety protocols. Despite being fully vaccinated and providing negative tests, he was placed in isolation for 10 days because he came in close contact with someone at the Giants of Africa event on Dec. 5 which Raptors vice-chairman and president Masai Ujiri attended and shortly after tested positive for COVID-19.

Achiuwa also was nursing tendonitis in his shoulder but made a triumphant return against the Warriors with 17 points.

"I just felt like I had no control over anything," Achiuwa said. "It was weird and frustrating at the same time. But we've just gotta do what we've gotta do to make sure everybody stays safe, especially right now with the way the virus is going across the league and the nation."

On Thursday, the Raptors had their home game against the Chicago Bulls postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Bulls organization.

Meanwhile, OG Anunoby returned after a 13-game absence with a left hip pointer. He played 28 minutes and was good for seven points.

Four Raptors starters hit double figures. Rookie Scottie Barnes added 21 points and eight rebounds. Canadian Chris Boucher and Gary Trent Jr. were good for 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The league-leading Warriors (24-6) were without standouts Stephen Curry (rest), Draymond Green (right hip tightness), Andre Iguodala (right knee management), Otto Porter Jr. (left foot management), Andrew Wiggins (rest) of Vaughan, ON.

Golden State guard Jordan Poole was in health and safety protocols.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr decided to send Curry, Green, Iguodala, Porter and Wiggins home to rest and avoid Canadian border COVID-19 protocols after their third consecutive win in Boston on Friday. This left the Warriors with only nine players.

Golden State's game in Toronto was the end of a five-game, eight-day trip with previous stops in Philadelphia, Indiana, New York and Boston.

Nineteen-year-old Jonathan Kuminga led the Warriors with 26 points.

This was the Warriors' first visit to Toronto since the Raptors championship series win against Golden State in 2019.

Toronto enjoyed comfortable leads of 31-18 after the first quarter and 63-42 at halftime. VanVleet already had checked in with a double-double of 20 points and 10 assists after two quarters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2021.

Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting