If there was ever, ever, a time for coach Dwane Casey to pull out one of his favourite go-to phrases of all time, it is exactly on this day. His team, the Toronto Raptors, are in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That's the team that has LeBron James, the guy who has been in every ECF (and NBA Finals) since 2011. That's a long time. This whole scenario is, in a word, incredible.
Anyway, Casey had that line ready to go in a holster: "Nobody expected us to be here."
But the Raptors are here. And that means we get to go on another journey with a team that has invoked more confused emotions than perhaps any other. The Raps have been at turns frustrating, maddening, inspiring, hilarious, ridiculous and beautiful. It has been tortuous to watch them. It has be incredible to watch them. It's been unforgettable.
Most Raptors fans will probably tell you that they'd have been fine with a hard fought second round defeat. It would have sucked -- especially if their opponent looked vulnerable, as the Heat did -- but it would have at least felt like a positive step. Instead, we are treated to history in the making. Yes, the Raptors are not favoured to win the title, or beat the Cavaliers. But the pressure of expectation is off. The Raptors are free to write whatever script they wish and regardless of the outcome, it will be a joyous one.
Nobody expected us to be here. And now we're here.
So who you got for the series?