The 2017 NBA season is over for the Raptors, with the Toronto outfit succumbing to a playoff semi final defeat at the hand of the in-form Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite plenty of strong team and individual performances across the season, it became clear that the Cavaliers had more class and maybe even a bit more in the tank, with back to back wins across four home and away games. They are now into the finals, leaving the Raptors to pick up the pieces and regroup ahead of next season.
It has been a bumpy ride for the raptors in post-season after they just about managed to make it into the playoffs for the first time in the history of the franchise. A strong third place finish in the Eastern Conference allowed them to progress, taking on the Milwaukee Bucks in the quarters. Their first playoff appearance didn’t start off well, with an 83-97 defeat in a frantic game at the Air Canada Centre. The series was very close at one point, with the Bucks taking a 2-1 lead but the Raptors put in a couple of shifts away from home to end up winning the series 4-2. The Raptors were stopped in their tracks however, as the Cavaliers showed true class in the semi final fixtures, winning four in a row including a thrilling 103-125 home win at the Quicken Loans arena.
The Raptors season was overall very successful, with the team finishing above 50 wins for the second season in a row and in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. The spread out playing schedule seems to be helping almost everyone at the moment and there were very few games where the Raptors scored under 100 points. The Raptors also travelled well this year too, with plenty of away wins and no real spells of poor form across the season.
Two names come instantly to mind when discussing Raptors MVPs for the season, with Shooting Guard Demar Derozan and Point Guard Kyle Lowery both stealing the show night after night. Lowery finished on an impressive 22.4 points per game average and plenty of rebounds and three pointers. He will have plenty of eyes on him in pre-season and has been a strong attacking player no matter who the opposition is. He did miss a block of games mid-season, but this didn’t stop him from putting in a solid performance when he was on court.
Demar stole the show however, with a career high of 27.3 ponts per game and an average of five rebounds per game. He has been in contention for league MVP multiple times throughout the season and found solid consistency in gameweek 1.
The Cavs will face either Boston or Washington in the conference finals and if they manage to maintain form, then it’s either the San Antonio Spurs or the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals. The odds on the Cavs are looking pretty good at the moment, but Golden State might just have the firepower and form to dispatch anyone in their path.