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The Morning After: Notes and Thoughts From Raptors-Wizards Game 2

The Raptors fall behind in the series 0-2, and now head on the road to avoid a sweep.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Notes and thoughts from the Raptors' Game 2 loss to the Wizards:

  • The transition defence was at times non-existent. A traveling media member -- who likely didn't watch every Raptors game this season -- commented afterwards: "I didn't know it was that bad." We're reaching beating a dead horse territory with the criticism about the team's defence, but it was especially poor in the second quarter last night when the Wizards outscored the Raptors 34-18. On multiple possessions, the Wizards were able to push the ball in transition and create odd-man advantages. The most discouraging part as we move forward in this series: with the current group of players, there's not much that can be changed.
  • Dwane Casey demanded a greater level of physicality from his team. Casey is a patient coach, sometimes to the point where it frustrates a lot of the fanbase because of how resistant he is to change or admitting that a change is needed. So it was refreshing -- if not a sign of how desperate things are right now -- to hear him admit after the game that the Raptors have simply not matched the Wizards' physicality. He talked about how the Wizards are just waltzing into the lane, waving and laughing at them as they do it. Casey wants to see his team play within the rules but knock a few guys down while doing so. Here's the thing: this is simply not who the Raptors are. A more physical style is out of character with who this team is. If they're going to get back into the series, they'll have to do it on the offensive end.
  • Lowry won't offer any excuses. Earlier in the day, Lowry was asked whether he was 100 percent, to which he told the media, "I feel great. I'm here talking to you guys." He left the game in the fourth quarter with a left shin contusion, and has not looked himself through two games. Asked how it feels to be down 2-0 compared to losing Game 7 last season: "I feel pretty shitty." Still, he's not going to blame his injuries, although I'm sure we'll hear more about it once the season is over.
  • The playoff results matter, and they also don't. The season reached a point several months ago where the results simply didn't really matter, at least as it pertains to the long term assessment of this current roster. Masai Ujiri said before the series that playoff results most definitely matter in his evaluation of the team. Well, here it is. The thing is, whether the Raptors get swept, or lose in six, or come back to win this series and advance to the second round, the writing is on the wall. Changes need to be made, perhaps a lot of changes to what this roster is fundamentally. We will -- and perhaps very soon -- dive into that when the playoffs are over. It's a strange thing to say, but you can already draw conclusions on this Raptors team while hoping for a comeback in this series. This team -- even if they win the series -- isn't going to suddenly transform into an outfit that can be brought back exactly as it is now and be expected to contend.
  • Best quote of the day belonged to Casey, when asked in the morning about the Raptors having to play desperate: "I've never seen a fat dog catch a rabbit."
  • The rebounding disadvantage in Game 2: 45 to 28
  • Beal + Wall > Lowry + DeRozan. That and "very poor defence" is your TL; DR recap of the two games so far, and probably the series
  • If you could pick a player to keep after this series: Otto Porter or Terrence Ross, who would you choose? That this is even a discussion, and a legitimate one, says a lot about the development of one and the regression of the other
  • Drake attended Game 2, and was actually going to be available to speak with media at 7:15 prior to tip-off. But because of traffic, he had to cancel. The Raptors have been unable to find a rhythm in this series
  • I mean, best case scenario, the Raptors win Game 3 (which is, yes, a must win), win Game 4 as well, and we have a new series
  • Second best scenario, and probably the most realistically optimistic outcome: win Game 3, come home down 3-1, win Game 5 for the home fans, then take our chances with an elimination road game in Washington and a chance to host Game 7. I know it seems far away right now, but I'll talk myself into this scenario by tomorrow
  • Randy Wittman is 7-1 on the road. Asked about his stellar post-season playoff record before the game, he credited the players. Check Beal and Wall's stats from last night. He is probably right.
  • At this point, when the Wizards go to the Pierce at the 4 lineup, it feels downright hopeless for the Raptors. Again, unclear what can be done.
  • Kyle Lowry finished with a team best +9. (Not) all stats matter
We'll have more analysis and thoughts over the next two days leading up to Game 3. What does everyone think?