VanVleet says Raptors hitting "conditioning wall" since COVID shutdown

Apr 1 2021, 9:51 am

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said that himself, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam are “hitting the conditioning wall” after having COVID-19.

The Raptors lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder 113-103 on Wednesday and have now lost four games in a row. They also wrapped up an abysmal month of March with a 1-13 record, which coincides with a COVID outbreak that hit the team near the end of February.

The Raptors had two games postponed, on February 28 and March 2, due to the virus. Siakam, Nick Nurse, and other members of the coaching staff also missed Toronto’s game on February 26 due to COVID-19 protocols.

For context, before their games got postponed, the Raptors had won five of their last seven games and held an overall record of 17-17. They were in a playoff spot, but now have fallen to 11th in the Eastern Conference with an 18-30 record.

After the Raptors’ latest loss, VanVleet admitted that COVID is still playing a factor in their struggles.

“Our three best players, me, Pascal and OG, are trying to recover from COVID and we’re all hitting the same conditioning wall at the same time,” VanVleet told reporters. “So there are spurts where we play high-level basketball and there are spurts where we suck. It’s just fighting uphill.”

The 27-year-old added that there is no need to blame anyone. They just have to play better.

“It’s hard to put your finger on what exactly it is because there are a million and one things going wrong out there, but we’ve gotta figure it out, somehow.”

“I don’t think we’re at the point where we’re pointing fingers or blaming [each other]. I think we past that point a long time ago. We’re pretty cohesive and together, we’re just not playing well.”

Earlier this month, VanVleet said that getting COVID was “nothing like anything I’ve ever had” and that his symptoms were “rough.”

“I could feel that it was something different, I could feel the sickness, I could just feel it in me,” VanVleet told reporters. “I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing.”

Jacob WhiteJacob White

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