Toronto has lost eight straight, and two reasons stand out: (1) lack of talent, and (2) Andrea Bargnani's injury. Here's a fun stat that I cribbed from Toronto's TV guys on Sunday while the rest of you were watching football: The Raps are 3-17 over the past two seasons when Bargnani doesn't play. He's been out the past six games with a calf strain, and the Raptors' offense has been a mess in his absence. Yesterday's 91 points against the Clippers were the most Toronto's scored without him; the Raptors are averaging just 83.2 in the six games.
Bargnani will likely return soon, perhaps as early as Tuesday in Phoenix, but with the Raps on a five-game road swing this streak may hit double digits before the bleeding stops.
Nonetheless, it shouldn't offset one piece of good news from Dwane Casey's project in Toronto: The Raps are now playing somewhat competent defense, standing 19th in Defensive Efficiency despite a copious lack of frontcourt muscle. If Bargnani can come back and revive the 29th-ranked offense, Toronto can avoid further skids.