This whole Wizards vs. Raptors series has been one long string of rude awakenings. For many in Toronto, a certain mentality had settled in. If the team could just get to the post-season, they'd be able to buckle down and anything could happen. A series with Washington, whom Toronto had beaten three times in the regular season, looked favourable. But then Game 1 turned ugly. Game 2 turned uglier. And Game 3, with the Raptors putting up about as good a fight as possible given the circumstances, was the team's real final chance. Game 4 was already decided, even if we didn't want to admit it.
With the final score of 125-94, it is now clear that the Raptors of 2014-15 were spent. It's fitting that the story of Toronto's final game was the tale of the team's second half. Once again, the Raptors looked lost. An offense that spent the regular season with a top five ranking, looked hopeless. Every basket felt like it needed an extra effort, every made jumper a hopeless heave. The top scorer for Toronto, ironically, was Kyle Lowry with 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting. It was a grim performance though, marked by errant fouls and expressions of rage on the bench. Lowry was not himself these past four games, and now a long summer awaits him.
The rest of the team stayed true to form. Jonas Valanciunas was an efficient 7-for-10 with 16 points and 9 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan had a humble 14 points. And the rest of the usual suspects did their usual things: Terrence Ross was invisible, Patrick Patterson was inconsistent, Lou Williams shot the ball a lot, and Amir Johnson struggled on valiantly.
And on the whole, of course, Toronto's defense was terrible. We don't need to recount it here. The Wizards, led by John Wall (again) and the sterling play of Marcin Gortat, were once again too much for the Raptors. Whether it was coach Casey's strategy or the talent of the players, nothing worked.
We've reached the off-season sooner than we intended. Only questions abound for this team. We'll have more post-mortems on the season this week. But tonight, let's get things started on the game and the series. And really, everything that's gotten us to this point.
What did you guys think of the game?