Saturday, May 28, 2016

Toronto Raptors' magical run comes to an end

I'm not a basketball aficionado, I barely follow the sport. But I'm enough of a patriot and a Torontonian to have been following the Raptors' record-breaking season and playoff run. They lost last night in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals, and that magical, even unlikely, run is over.
After a franchise record season with 56 wins, and their first-ever appearance in the Conference finals, Toronto should take some comfort in losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yes, Cleveland is an anonymous, tin-pot city about the size of Brampton, but they happen to have a play called LeBron James, which is usually enough to guarantee a team a place in the NBA finals (this will be his sixth straight final, his second carrying Cleveland there). Love him or hate him - and most people outside of Cleveland hate him; he is, after all, a cocky, opinionated prima donna, prone to elaborate diving - he has a way of winning basketball matches, and of inspiring whatever team he happens to be playing with to great things.
James' flopping was not so much an issue last night, and neither was the suspect officiating that has dogged this series. But James' 33 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists were enough to sink the Raptors, after a brave run against huge odds. And don't get a Torontonian started on "odds" after that egregious CBS Sports poll in which Toronto was left off the ballot in favour of "Other" (leading to much use of the #WeTheOther hashtag).
Anyway, congrats to Kyle Lowry, DeMarr DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, Bismarck Biyombo and all the other Raptors on a stellar, hard-fought season, and better luck for next year. Toronto can now hold their heads up in basketball as well as baseball - hockey, not so much.

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