It still hurts doesn’t it? Replaying a laundry list of Raptors misses that would have sealed a game 1 victory at home. Immediately, and foolishly, I jumped on twitter to gauge reactions following what felt like a game 7 loss at the buzzer. some of my favourite takes, paraphrased in no particular order:
“Lord, another Cavs-Warriors finals”
Toronto let the Cavs steal game 1. It really happened”
“Best Raptors team ever, totally healthy and rested. Worst Cavs team in 4 years, totally exhausted. Same result, always and forever.”
Are these takes fair? Absolutely. you are a product of what you accomplish, and when it comes to the Raptors against the Cavaliers, Toronto has accomplished nothing. Yet if you watched the one-point loss from wire to wire, and basked in the 3/20 finish down the stretch there’s a large chance you still felt…confident. You, as a fan, have a chance to thing logically about this game and I implore you to do so. This is not the same team that got swept last season. For all intensive purposes, the Cavs did/Raps did steal/lose this game, there is no other great analysis that needs to take place.
Despite appearing allergic to rebounding the ball with two hands down the stretch, the Raptors still out-rebounded the Cavs 49-45. Despite missing (several) bunnies to close out a 4th quarter that was constantly in reach, the plays were still there. Despite a nervous crowd at home, Fred VanVleet still stood his ground against LeBron James, DeMar DeTozan took an elbow to the head from Kevin Love and Drake tried to fight Kendrick Perkins.
This is not the same Raptors team, and you’d be foolish to think it is. This team was in control for the majority of the game, and that simply can’t be said at almost any point from last season. You can make an argument that the younger players on this team don’t know how to win, but again, you’d be foolish. It was the veterans that couldn’t close when it mattered most, and even then their misses were those of inches, not ill-decisions.
If you came here to find out whether or not VanVleet should have taken a three to win the game (yes) or if any Raptor should ever leave Kyle Korver unattended (no) then I apologize. You are not going to get a fundamental breakdown of what went wrong in game 1 because to be frank, nothing did. Toronto played the game it set out to, and Outside of a few late misses and turnovers, they had it in the bag.
It’s fine to be upset, angry, confused or any other negative emotion you want to feel, but don’t you dare lose hope. Not yet.