Of course in the end the Raptors will find a way to break your heart. You don't need to read a sentence before that one because you already know. All the conditions were set: Raptors in the second round, Raptors at home, Raptors in a Game 1, Raptors taking a lead and looking strong, Raptors playing from behind, pushing, squeezing, finding a way, and then falling short.
If there's a way for the Raptors to get you to believe and then figure out a way to destroy that belief, they'll do it. And tonight, after losing 102-96 in overtime in truly ridiculous fashion to the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the first conference semi-final in 15 years, the Raptors done did it. This was perhaps the most Raptors-y game in Raptors history.
Deep breath. Let's talk about the end of regulation, Kyle Lowry and his shot.
Lowry played probably the worst game of the 2015-16 season, tonight his 90th on the year. He had seven points on 3-for-13 shooting, and was eviscerated by Goran Dragic (26 points on 10-for-20 shooting). He'll never admit his elbow is bothering him, but how else do you explain almost 48 minutes of invisibility? Lowry looked passive, afraid to shoot and except for little Lowry plays here and there (fewer and farer between than against Indiana), he had almost zero effect on the game.
I mean, besides hitting the most insane shot I've ever seen in person, and providing probably the wildest end to a regulation game in Raptors history. The stakes have literally never been higher.
Unbelievable, right? The Raptors managed to come back down six with less than 20 seconds left. A three from Terrence Ross, some missed free throws, a steal off an inbound and then, with 3.3 seconds left and no timeouts -- Lowry, saviour.
This is peak Raptors. https://t.co/hmVLTD5aQ0— Raptors HQ (@RaptorsHQ) May 4, 2016
But the Raptors lost in overtime. Because of course they did. They got a monster game from Jonas Valanciunas (24 points on 10-for-16 shooting and 14 rebounds) and an awake game from Ross (19 points). They gave themselves as many chances as they gave away to take control of this game.
And what's hilarious about all of this is that the Raptors almost had a chance to win again in the extra frame. Down three, DeMarre Carroll managed to disrupt Dwyane Wade enough to get the ball bouncing off of him out of bounds. But with less than ten seconds left, DeMar DeRozan got rattled by Wade (who was a killer all night) and had the ball poked away. Despite the game being thrown into extreme doubt, there was never any doubt.
But you knew that already. We've been here for 21 years.