The Raptors Now Have a Shot at the Finals

The Raptors Now Have a Shot at the Finals

The Toronto Raptors have put themselves in an interesting situation. Considering the recent history, with their polar performances during the regular and post season in mind, the team was looking to stay competitive this off-season. The blessing or the curse, depending on how you look at it, is that the Raptors will be judged solely on their post-season success. On the one hand, a long-struggling franchise has finally reached that glorious stature of relevancy in the NBA. More importantly, the Toronto Raptors has become a team that Toronto and all of Canada can be proud of, which should not be taken lightly. If it were easy to make five consecutive playoffs, then the Kings and Timberwolves would have done it already. On the other hand, the Raptors have fizzled out during the playoffs in the same fashion each of the five years. Regardless of the fact that they were the higher seed during the regular season, that momentum didn’t translate into the post-season. Credit to them for trying to adapt. At one point, they shifted towards a defense-heavy scheme. That didn’t work. Then they reset their culture. That didn’t work either. Many were calling Masai Ujiri stubborn for holding onto the core group of Dwane Casey, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan when he could have easily let one of them go for underperforming in the playoffs – but he stuck with them. Finally it was two sweeps in back-to-back years to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers that became the catalyst for true change. Embarrassing loss after embarrassing loss now led the Raptors to enter a new chapter in their franchise.

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