Raptors win the war but lose the battle as Pistons spoil VanVleet & Siakam returns

Title: Raptors win the war but lose the battle as Pistons spoil VanVleet & Siakam returns
Date: March 17, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I offered some takeaways from the return of Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell’s career night, all in a loss.

Ahead of any other consideration, it was a relief to see Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam back on the court for the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

However the night turned out, the return of two foundational pieces to the floor was always going to be a positive. From VanVleet smiling brightly during warmups to Siakam’s first spin move in the post, Wednesday felt like the team was shouldering a lighter weight than the last five games. Along with Malachi Flynn, Patrick McCaw and a number of assistant coaches, VanVleet and Siakam received pregame clearance to return after missing five and six games respectively due to the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

Before the game, head coach Nick Nurse’s tone conveyed this being a page-turning evening. The Raptors hoped to get back on the winning side of things, but regardless, it would be a step forward as the team looks to put an unfortunate, dispiriting and worrisome couple of weeks behind them.

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