The Wizards completed their four-game sweep of the Raptors yesterday evening in D.C. Sweeps aren’t all that uncommon in the first round of the NBA playoffs; what made this one notable, beyond Toronto having been the higher-seeded and favored team at the outset, is just how one-sided it was. The score was tied 43-43 with about five minutes left to go in the second quarter of Game 2 the last time anybody didn’t know which team was advancing.
Last night’s clincher was particularly gruesome: A 31-point blowout that somehow registered as even less competitive than that. The Raptors mustered the pride and self-respect to do the standard elimination-game Let’s make ‘em earn it thing for the game’s first three minutes before folding. If a dignified exit could have saved anybody’s job, or burnished anybody’s free-agency value, or merely spared anybody the ignominy of unconditional surrender, nobody cared less than the Raptors. They all but disbanded on the court.
What the hell happened? This is a genuine question. We didn’t pay much attention to the Raptors this season, mostly just assuming they were the same deep, versatile, unselfish, ferociously competitive team that battled their way to the final possession of a seventh game in last year’s playoffs and then roared out to such a hot start this past autumn. They stumbled a bit in this season’s second half, but so did pretty much everybody in the East except the Cavaliers and Pacers, and anyway they held onto a top-four seed. Why did they turn into the Knicks as soon as the playoffs started?
Frankly, we’d like Canada to explain this to us. Why did Kyle Lowry, who started the All-Star Game two months ago, finish this series with as many personal fouls (20) as field goals? Why couldn’t he create anything but panicked 19-foot fadeaways for himself off the dribble? Why did he and DeMar DeRozan completely stop passing once the Raptors fell behind yesterday? Is Terrence Ross dead? Whatever became of the team that competed like hell on defense, spaced and attacked and swung the ball and attacked again on offense, and barnstormed its way through the first two months of the season? Did coach Dwane Casey fuck somebody’s wife? What the hell happened to the Raptors?
We sincerely have no damn idea. Tell us down in the comments, Canadians.
Photo via AP