Are the Toronto Raptors playing a bit of gamesmanship by not allowing unvaccinated players into their arena? Canadian law states that only fully vaccinated travelers are permitted entry across the border. For that reason, Matisse Thybulle was forced to sit Thursday night’s game out.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ wing player was “ineligible to play” because he isn’t vaccinated, according to reports. His team suffered a demoralizing 119-114 road loss to the Raptors. You can yell at Thybulle for not getting a COVID-19 shot, but don’t blame him for the defeat.
The Sixers coughed up a 15-point lead and listened to Pascal Siakam (37 points, 12 assists, 11 rebounds) get serenaded with MVP chants in the fourth quarter. Joel Embiid (30 points, 10 boards) paced Philadelphia, along with Danny Green (18 points, 6-of-9 from three) and Tyrese Maxey (22 points, 4-of-5 from three).
The Sixers currently hold the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They would play Toronto in a first-round playoff series if the season ended today. It doesn’t. There are two more games and both of them are at Wells Fargo Center: April 9 vs. Indiana; April 10 vs. Detroit.
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Danny Green Credits Toronto’s ‘Vaccination Advantage’
The game marked a long overdue homecoming for Danny Green who finally received his 2019 championship ring from the Raptors. The franchise pushed the ceremony back several times over the past three years as the COVID-19 pandemic kept causing logistical problems.
Toronto fans wanted to see Green and thank him. Which they did. Loud, boisterous cheers were showered down on him following a lengthy tribute video. It had been 1,029 days since Green last played a game for the Raptors.
Before the game, Green held a live taping of his “Inside the Green Room” podcast alongside Harrison Sanford and Chris Boucher. It was a chance for him to re-connect with Toronto while sharing his thoughts on the current Raptors team.
In doing so, Green also unknowingly coined a new phrase: “vaccination advantage.” The three-time champion thinks visitors to Scotiabank Arena are at a disadvantage, mainly due to Canada’s vaccination requirement which restricts unvaccinated players from even making the trip.
“There’s a lot of length, you know bigger guards, guys with some experience,” Green said about the Raptors, via Raptors Brasil. “Playing hard, rebounding well, they play as a team – up and down, moving in a great system, and you guys have the vaccination advantage, it’s tough for some guys to come into this building – it’s already tough with full rosters to come into the building and win.”
Scottie Barnes Gifted Championship Jacket
The special bomber jacket that Green wore into the stadium – decked out in Raptors colors, including Drake’s OVO logo – stayed in Toronto. The three-time champion gifted it to Scottie Barnes. Why? Because Green made a promise to the rookie forward.
“I look at him like a little brother now,” Green said, via Lindsay Dunn. “I think he’s going to do some good things, but I’ve been a fan of his game, been watching him, and in the preseason we spoke about it, and I wanted him to keep the jacket.”
“We shot well. They shot well,” Green said. “We just got to figure out adjustments and hopefully when or if we come back, we’re not in the situation we are right now.”