Paul George passes over Cory Joseph in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Via Getty.

The Indiana Pacers, the seventh-best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference during the regular season, just rolled into Toronto and stole Game 1 from the Raptors, the second-best team in the East. They were able to do this because the Toronto Raptors have a streak to keep alive: Having never won a Game 1 in a first-round playoff series, the Raps weren’t about to start now.

Advertisement

The score was 100-90 because Paul George, the best player you never bother to notice until April, decided he wasn’t going to lose to Toronto, because no one ever does in the playoffs. He scored 33, about half of those in a third quarter when he could do no wrong, drawing fouls, blocking shots, draining threes. Meanwhile Toronto’s guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined to shoot 8-of-31, miss bushels of free-throws, and short-arm late-game shots when result was still in doubt, sort of. “We gotta continue to make it tough on them,” George said afterward. “That’s all we got to do.”

The Raptors, now 0-8 in playoff openers, now need to win four of the next six games if they are to advance to the second round. This is unlikely to happen when Indiana’s winning road games and Toronto is Toronto. Since 2005, the Raptors, Blue Jays, and Maple Leafs have altogether combined to win just one playoff series among them, when the Jays beat the Rangers last year. Great town for Pride Parades and getting your bike tire caught in streetcar tracks, lousy town for sports relevance.

Drake the type that deserves better.