The Toronto Raptors are replacing Dwane Casey with assistant coach Nick Nurse. Nurse has been with the Raptors since 2013. He's the first new coach hire of team president Masai Ujiri’s tenure.
Fuck it, bring 'em all back next season. Casey, too. These Raps entertain me, and I'm okay with 59 regular season wins, winning a round (or two) and then losing to THE GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL-TIME.— Toronto Mike (@torontomike) May 8, 2018
I've watched all or part of almost every Raptors game this season. I consider this the best Raptors team yet, and thought they could beat the Cavs and make their first finals appearance. I was a true believer.
Although you can no longer be swept in three games, that just happened to my Raps in the second round against LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers. And these three games... man... what total and complete ownage.
Game One: Cleveland 113, Toronto 112
With apologies to Vince Carter who missed a three that would have beat the 76ers in a game seven that happened to fall on graduation day, this is the worst loss in Raptors history. We never trailed until OT, and had numerous opportunities to win. I'm still amazed we lost this one.
Game Two: Cleveland 128, Toronto 110
This is the most humiliating loss in Raptors history. Two minutes into the third quarter, I knew exactly what was going to happen. LeBron James went into beast mode and the Raps folded like a cheap suit. It was embarrassing.
Game Three: Cleveland 105, Toronto 103
We trailed the entire game and then somehow tied it up with 8 seconds left. Neither team had a timeout, so the Cavs got the ball in LeBron's hands and he took it from there. That shot... that playground shot as he faded away in a sideway jump and scored off the glass as time expired... had no business going in. This game... that moment... my son sat in stunned silence and I just looked at him and smiled. All hail the king. There's no shame in losing to the best. Like the meme says, I wasn't even mad... that was amazing.
Welcome to LeBronto.
The Toronto Raptors have clinched the top seed in the east with a 92-73 victory over the Indiana Pacers tonight. It was their 57th win of the season, and 33rd win at home, both new franchise records.
It's an interesting coincidence that both the Blue Jays and Raptors have strung together multiple win streaks of 11 games but never 12. I believe the Jays have hit 11 at least five times now and I know the Raptors have reached 11 at least twice. When I have time, I'll try and find precise numbers.
With the Raps loss today to halt their streak at 11, here's the longest winning streaks in franchise history for each of Toronto's main five professional sports teams.
Raptors - 11
Blue Jays - 11
Maple Leafs - 10
Argos - 10
TFC - 6
When DeMar DeRozan drove to the net with a thunderous dunk to give the Raptors the lead late in the fourth quarter last night, I leapt out of my seat. OG Anunoby is still hurt, Serge Ibaka got ejected and Delon Wright left the game with a sprained toe, but DeRo had us. We beat the Pistons by capping an awful OT with a long bucket from Fred VanVleet.
It's our sixth win in a row, and our franchise-record 17th game in a row scoring over 100 points. Oh, and we clinched a playoff spot. It is the earliest point in the season a Toronto team has ever clinched a playoff berth.
And did I mention the Raptors lead the Eastern Conference by 2.5 games? This team is both very good and very likeable.
We're the beasts of the east and all bandwagon jumpers are welcome!
DeMar DeRozan had a hell of a game last night against the Milwaukee Bucks. When it was all said and done, he had 52 points, a new Raptors record.
It's worth noting I watched on television and did not attend this game. That's a key detail because I was in attendance for both Vince Carter's 51 point game in 2000 and Terrence Ross's 51 point game in 2014. That coincidence led to some interesting math.
If (at the time of Terrence Ross's 51)
- Probability of 50+ points Raptors = 2/1,600
- I'd gone to 12 games out of the 1,600
- And everything is independent (not necessarily true but probably good enough)
Then out of 1,000,000 simulations of 12 games, then probability
- 0/12 games with 50+ is 98.50%
- 1/12 game with 50+ is 1.50%
- 2/12 games with 50+ is 0.0045% (ie. if 1,000,000 people independently went to 12 games, only 45 would see both 50+ games)
So, there was a 0.0045% chance of that happening. Although now that DeRozan has the new record, I suppose none of it matters.
Although DeRozan did require overtime to set the record...
Where do we go from here?
It's a valid question, and a rather polarizing one for Raptor fans. I've personally gone back and forth on this one since the Raptors were swept away by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.
For the second year in a row, the Raptors lost in the playoffs to LeBron and his Cavs. There's no doubt we're not good enough to beat them. Heck, except for game four, it wasn't even a contest. At least we won a couple of games against Cleveland last season.
Now the question is whether Masai Ujiri tears it down and rebuilds or works this summer to improve the team. On Sunday night, I wanted the tear down, but today I'm leaning towards remaining a great and entertaining regular season team that wins a round or two before losing to LeBron James.
What would you do? What should Masai do?
Despite frustrating me for three quarters, the Raptors actually won in Milwaukee yesterday to tie their first round series with the Bucks at 2 games apiece. They should advance to the second round, although nothing is a surety when this team is in the playoffs. They're rather unpredictable, hence the frustration.
Tonight I'll be glued to the Leafs game as we try to win at home to force a game seven with the President's Trophy winning Capitals. What a series this has been... four games have been decided in OT and the other was decided by a single goal. The Leafs are hanging with the big boys and it's been thrilling.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are in Anaheim so I've been waking up to find out how we've done. We lost last night, lowering our record to 4-13. That's a .235 winning percentage. That's bad... very, very bad.
The past two years the Jays and Leafs were flipped. The Jays were thrilling, advancing to two ALCS. The Leafs were junk. They've essentially switched spots on the Toronto pro sports spectrum.
One day, all three teams will be competitive. It's never happened before, but hope springs eternal. In the meantime, I'm just glad we've had two out of three in the playoffs the past few years. It sure beats how things looked a mere five years ago.
And two out of three ain't bad.
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