The night of anguish and/or unprecedented jubilation in Toronto sports is upon us.
While the Maple Leafs look to exorcise some demons in their Game 7 in Boston, and TFC tries to overcome a first-leg deficit to win CONCACAF Champions League in Mexico, the Raptors will be look to make amends for a more recent shortcoming.
Sunday’s Game 4 loss in DC brought with it waves of unpleasant déjà vu. Toronto’s late-game offense assumed an older, more sinister form than the fluid it resembled during the regular season and in Games 1 and 2 of this series.
After a couple days of saying all the right things about needing to rediscover their identity, the Raptors have a chance to make good on their talk in Game 5. It’s imperative that they do.
Game 5 has been a platform on which the Raptors have performed pretty darn well in recent years. For all the trash talk directed Toronto’s way about their playoff struggles, they’ve rarely laid eggs in super high-leverage games. Having been tied at twos five times since 2014, the Raptors are 4-1 in the pivotal fifth game of those series — their only loss came in Cleveland in the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals.
As ulcer-inducing as tonight promises to be, try to enjoy it. This is what the playoffs are about. Sure, it would be nice to sweep through every series with no blood, sweat and/or tears expended. That’s also an exceedingly rare feat reserved for super-teams and pre-2018 LeBron James. The release that comes from winning a game as big as tonight’s is just about the best sub-championship feeling a sports fan can experience. Factor in everything else going on in Toronto this week — from the tragic to the uplifting — and a win in Game 5 will almost certainly go down as a touchstone moment in franchise history.
Go Raptors, go Reds, go Leafs. Be good to each other, have an awesome time, and enjoy what could be the best night in Toronto sports in a generation.
Where to Watch
Canada — TSN (All of them)
United States — NBA TV
NOTE — MLSE’s Raptors/Leafs/TFC Watch Party & Tailgate starts at 5. Every game will have ample screen exposure, so don’t whine about it, and most importantly, have a blast.
Washington — John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr., Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat
Toronto — Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, OG Anunoby, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas
Washington — Jodie Meeks (suspended — nefarious health shakes)
Toronto — Fred VanVleet (out — shoulder)
Raps/Wiz Game 5 pregame show with Sean Woodley and Dan Reynolds. Ask Qs in the comments!Posted by Raptors HQ on Wednesday, April 25, 2018