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Toronto Raptors Season Ends In Heartbreak


The sound of 20,457 basketball fans getting their hearts broken is pretty uncomfortable.

The best I can to do to describe the sound is that it is akin to an arena full of fans simultaneously gasping after getting punched or kicked in the junk.

The irony is it was bedlam in the Air Canada Centre when Terrence Ross stole the ball with 6.2 seconds left in regulation and the Raptors down one point.

Toronto inbounded the ball to Kyle Lowry who then proceeded to go one-on-five on the Brooklyn Nets. The play – and Toronto’s season – ended with Paul Pierce swatting away Lowry’s shot and rudely sending him to the court.

When Lowry’s shot didn’t drop the sound of silence in the Air Canada Centre was deafening. Fans were in disbelief and it took them a long time to eventually filter out of their seats and then make their way out of the arena.

They were too stunned to boo Pierce after his post-game interview with ABC.

What makes this loss a tough pill to swallow is fans may be in for even more heartbreak this summer.

Masai Ujiri has often told the media since he took over the Toronto Raptors that one or two games won’t sway his opinion on a player. This was always going to be a season where the coaching staff and players would get the chance to show what they could do before Ujiri committed to either building around the current core and blowing things up.

Kyle Lowry was king of Toronto after he scored 36 points in Game 5. He finished with a team-high 28 points in Game 7 but he needed 19 field goal attempts.

With the game on the line he was a little too aggressive looking for his own shot and failed to see teammates who had opens looks.

He’s about to become a free agent and it’s debatable what the team would do if another team offers Lowry a maximum or near-max contract this summer.

Dwane Casey’s deal is done after this season and all signs indicate that he will return.

But, crazier things have happened.

There have been reports online that Casey wants to join Steve Kerr as an assistant coach next season. But, those are online rumours so take them with a grain of salt.

After Game 7 a reporter asked Casey if he thought he and Lowry would be back and a somber Casey admitted: “I don’t know the answer to either of those questions.”

Later in the media scrum after referring to Toronto in the future tense he joked that he was already planning for next season as head coach of the Raptors.

This season has been a wild and fun ride for fans of the Toronto Raptors. From the team quickly recovering after the trade of Rudy Gay to Jurassic Park overflowing with fans for playoff games, this will be a season that will be looked back on fondly for years to come.

With both Casey and Lowry essentially becoming free agents it will be interesting to see how those dominoes will fall. If both are not back with the Raptors it may lead Ujiri to rebuilding the team and moving key pieces like DeMar DeRozan or Amir Johnson.

The key is remembering that players switching teams may not be the worst thing. Sure, having a fan favourite like DeRozan, Johnson or Lowry switch teams may sting at first, but Ujiri has a track record of making the right moves, even if they aren’t the sentimental ones that fans may want.

The sting of this loss will linger well into the summer as it will likely affect what move Toronto makes this summer.

Ryan McNeill
Ryan McNeill has appeared on ESPN Radio, MTV Canada, SiriusXM, The Fan 590 and other radio programs and TV shows. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.
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