The Toronto Raptors' nightmarish season has nearly reached a welcomed conclusion, and the NBA's joint-longest active playoff streak will also end in the process.
The Indiana Pacers' 111-102 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday was the final nail in the coffin for Toronto, ensuring Nick Nurse & Co. could not mathematically snatch 10th place and the final play-in tournament spot regardless of how the team fares in its four final games.
For the 2019 NBA champs, Monday effectively signals the end of a campaign rife with injury setbacks and games missed due to health and safety protocols while the Raptors were marooned at their makeshift digs in Tampa amid the ongoing pandemic.
Pascal Siakam, who missed six games in March amid reports the 2020 All-NBA Second Team honoree had contracted COVID-19, is the only Toronto player to start more than 80% of the club's games this season. Fellow key contributors Fred VanVleet - who admitted he was infected with the coronavirus - and OG Anunoby also missed time due to protocols, while Kyle Lowry has only appeared in 46 contests due to various ailments.
The Raptors' streak of seven successive playoff berths between 2014-20 was tied for the longest current postseason run with the Portland Trail Blazers, which also accomplished the feat between 2014 and 2020.
The Blazers - currently sitting fifth in the Western Conference ahead of Monday's slate - are guaranteed to do no worse than nabbing one of four play-in spots. The play-in rounds will determine the seventh and eighth-placed teams in each conference for the playoffs scheduled to begin on May 22.
Toronto is next in action on Tuesday evening when the team welcomes former teammates Kawhi Leonard and Serge Ibaka and their current organization, the Los Angeles Clippers, to the Amalie Arena in Tampa. Siakam, Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby, Rodney Hood, and Paul Watson Jr. are all out against the Clippers, while Chris Boucher remains questionable as the Montreal native recovers from a knee injury.
Remarkably, the Raptors enter Tuesday's matchup with an unadjusted net rating of 0.2 - the highest in NBA history for a franchise with as poor a record as the 27-41 Raptors.