Toronto Raptors End Exciting Season on a Sweep
On Sunday evening, the 2016-17 Toronto Raptors campaign came to an end with a sweep at the hands of LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Even in the absence of their star point guard Kyle Lowry the Raptors were able to keep it close, even taking a one point lead half way through the fourth quarter, but between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and a whole lot of outside shooting, the Raptors were no match for the powerful Cleveland offence. With the team’s pride on the line, the Raptors fought until the final seconds of their Game 4 contest in front of an electric Air Canada Centre, but when the finally buzzer sounded, the Cavs pulled out a 109-102 victory.
“They’re a hell of a team for a reason,” DeMar DeRozan said after the final game of the Raptors’ season. “They got one of the greatest players [James] of all time. It’s on us to let this sink in and understand we’ve got to come back extremely better, individual and team-wise.”
While the Raptors attempted to fight the Cavs all series, it was their execution on both ends that ultimately failed them. The Cavaliers were most definitely the better team, but could the Raptors have given a better fight? Of course!
“It’s hard to break down a team that won 50-plus games two years in a row, with the core guys,” DeRozan said. “That’s on upper management . . . we gotta work on our game, become better, and leave it up to the front office to figure out everything else.”
As the Raptors enter a very difficult offseason, they will have many decisions to make revolving Lowry, Ibaka, Patrick Patterson, and P.J. Tucker, all of whom are entering free agency. As well, the status of Dwane Casey is something that more than likely will be addressed too. This was a season of many positives for the Raptors, but at the end, they could not overcome the Cavaliers yet again, failing to take the metaphorical next step in their development process.
The East has become all about defeating LeBron. The Raptors must regroup, refocus, and prepare to challenge the Cavaliers again next season.
As for the Cavaliers, they now await the results of the Boston Celtics-Washington Wizards series, with their eyes set on returning to the NBA Finals stage and defending their NBA championship crown!
The Cavaliers have become the first team in NBA history to start two straight postseasons at 8-0. Can anyone stop James and his crew?