The Autopsy Report: A lost game, a lost season

The Toronto Raptors are finished.

They told you in the academy that you'd never get used to it, and you believed them then, but you didn't quite understand what they meant. You see the body below you, a body you know well. It's outlined in chalk, and there's broken bottles around it. They coulda been thrown by disgusted fans, or they could be a metaphor.

How many holes can be gouged from a season before a team's guts tumble out after them? The vital organs -- the leadership, the pride, the chemistry, the camaraderie, the joy -- might have already left the body, or they might still be hanging on by a leaking, tearing ligament. You can't tell from within the moment itself. But you know in hindsight it'll be damn clear. If you're going to point to a moment in time when the spirit left the body, it might as well be now.

It doesn't matter when, just that it's gone.

You sigh -- more of a shudder -- and roll a cigarette. This time, your hand shakes. You've done it plenty of times before, found this helpless, lifeless thing on the cold pavement, studied it, but never in the regular season. Not like the Toronto Raptors are going any further, this time. A win's a win in the regular season, but if the regular season is all you're gonna get, a loss can be blown up like a blood sample under the microscope. Bigger than Times Square, if you've never seen Times Square. A regular season loss can mean a game, a season, an era. You'll never get used to it? You know what that means, now.

The Raptors had a sure thing. An almost wire-to-wire lead, with a fiery offense creating great shots, and starters coming back into the game with seven minutes left and a six-point lead. Good teams close that out. Heck, bad teams close that out.

But what do the Raptors do? Now is the time to smoke that cigarette you rolled, or to look away, or to become a fan of the Minnesota Timberwolves instead.

Pascal Siakam turns it over, then O.G. Anunoby gets blocked on a wild, no-chance hook layup. Later, Siakam misses a floater, Gary Trent jr. a jumper, and Scottie Barnes a floater. Barnes turns it over, steals it back, and misses a layup, then another. Siakam misses a jumper. Barnes turns it over, then misses another layup. Trent misses a jumper. VanVleet misses a layup.

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