Getting swept in the 2nd round by the Cleveland Cavaliers might not have been the game-plan going into the playoff for the Toronto Raptors, but it sure as hell just happened. Yes, the Raptors were the #1 seeded team in the Eastern Conference. Yes, they had the second best record in all of basketball. But is anyone really surprised? Did anyone really think this was going to end any differently for the Raptors? If you did, you shouldn’t have. Did they add a star player in the offseason? Did DeMar DeRozan finally become a 4th quarter player? Did Kyle Lowry step-up as the series continued? Did Lebron James not play for the Cavs? “No’s” across the board. It was one of the most pathetic series of basketball I’ve ever seen. Each game just as painful, if not more painful, than the last.
So how did this all happen?
Game 1 was an absolute shit-show. This was one of the most frustrating games of basketball I have ever watched. After game 1, how could anyone think this would end any differently? The game was in their god damn hands! Right there for them to take and they BLEW it. They blew it so hard! They had a consistent lead throughout the game and a sizable lead in the last couple of minutes and proceeded to go 0-11 to end the 4th quarter. Lebron hit a couple of clutch shots in the 4th which forced the game to go to overtime. But this time was going to be different right? Dwane Casey was going to rally the troops! They were going to put that HORRIFIC 4th quarter behind them and come out strong in OT! This was a different Raptors team!!!
The Raptors shit a brick even after Lebron gave them the game after going 0-5 in OT (Putting up some miserable shots I might add). Again, DeMar DeRozan drove to the paint, and dished it to Fred VanVleet for a wide open three.. which he missed. No dis to Fred who was a 6th man of the year candidate, but what the fuck. Fred hits one game winning three during the season and all of a sudden he is their clutch guy? A bench player who averaged just 10 points in this series, coming off an injured shoulder in the first round… is going to be your clutch guy? He didn’t just attempt the game-winner in overtime, but he took the game-winning shot in the 4th quarter as well. Nearly the same fucking play! You got your best scorer only a couple feet from the hoop and you don’t try to put it up? What the fuck was that?!?! They didn’t even need to draw this play up, cause everyone in the building knew where this ball was going. For a team that desperately needed some confidence in this series, they threw it right out the window after Game 1. The Raptors had no chance after this game. None.
Demar DeRozan + Kyle Lowry
It’s hard to say it right now, but I love Demar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. They have one of the best friendships in the NBA and are fucking hysterical together. Their opposite personalities make their friendship sitcom worthy, and they have been the pride of Toronto basketball for a number of years. But they sure do suck in the playoff and flat out gave up in Game 4.
Demar DeRozan is supposed to be the star of your team. The best shooter on the #1 seeded team going into the playoffs should not have the games that he had. Forget his terrible shooting percentage for a second, he had a combined 21 points in games 3 and 4. COMBINED. He never looked comfortable in this series and was on the god damn bench in the 4th quarter of Game 3. The final seconds of a game and your star player is sitting his ass on the bench? The game was close! It was fucking tied! And the star player is on the bench! Terrible!
And Kyle Lowry wasn’t much of a factor either. Lowry wasn’t as bad as DeRozan but still only scored a whole 5 points in Game 4. 5 fucking points. I’ll just leave that there…
Lebron Freaking James
Game 1: 29 PTS. 8 REB. 11 AST.
Game 2: 38 PTS. 6 REB. 7 AST.
Game 3: 43 PTS. 8 REB. 14 AST.
Game 4: 26 PTS. 11 REB. 13 AST.
136 Points, 33 rebounds, 45 assists, and 7 steals.
Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan COMBINED:
138 points, 30 rebounds, 46 assists and 6 steals.
No fucking chance were the Raptors going to win this series with numbers like that. Just look at those stats. Lebron loves to kick the shit out of Eastern Conference teams, and put on another un-real performance in the 2nd round. How can you expect to win a series when one guy is nearly matching the scoring totals of your two best players?
The End of an Era
Getting swept was not ideal, but it was the best thing that could have happened to the Raptors. Let’s say that the Raptors somehow make it past the Cavaliers and go on to win the Eastern Conference. Do you really think they would beat a team like the Warriors or the Rockets? No chance! So why deal with the pain of getting to the finals just to lose. If they make it to the finals, then there is some hope that this team could actually win a championship when in reality…it’s just not the case.
They flat out got their shit kicked. The Raptors looked terrible which puts a lot of pressure on management to make a change. They have lost the last couple of years in miserable fashion, but never this bad. There was never a major change before but it needs to happen now. But you must know that this isn’t a bad thing for the Raptors, it’s just time to move on. No Raptors fan wants to see this again so just tear it all apart. Trade everyone. Who cares. They had the best bench in basketball which is great, but it’s never going to get them anywhere without star pieces and DeRozan and Lowry are so clearly not that. The Raptors need to stop pretending that this a championship contending team just because they are a top seed in the Eastern Conference every year. The Raptors need to do what’s best for their fans and stop giving them any hope that this will work.
This loss may hurt Toronto fans, but it needed to happen. Time for change.