Title: Raptors Reasonablists, Volume I, Part XI: The slow, slow death edition
Date: May 4, 2017
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: Eric Koreen and I will be doing a semi-regular email exchange column about the Raptors, dubbing ourselves The Reasonablists. The latest edition tries to work through an 0-2 deficit to the Cavaliers.
Welcome to another edition of Raptors Reasonablists with Eric Koreen and Blake Murphy. Throughout the year, lead NBA writer Koreen and regular contributor Murphy discuss hot-button issues surrounding the Raptors, but with an even-keeled approach in pursuit of finding reasonable middle ground. If we have faith in anything, it is that reasonable middle grounds lead to: a) workable long-term solutions; b) increased empathy and understanding for others; and c) more wins — at least more wins when they truly matter — probably. We hold these truths to be self-evident, and we hold these truths to be good truths.
MURPHY: Eric, if there were ever a time for us to reasonablize, now seems to be it. The Toronto Raptors have spent a full calendar year building to this exact opportunity, and despite optimism that things would go differently a second time around, their series against the Cleveland Cavaliers has been almost an exact carbon-copy of last year’s so far. That it comes a round earlier doesn’t really matter, but it takes some of the shine off of the larger-picture accomplishments of this core and it erases the (somewhat unnecessary and falsified) perception of linear growth.
Let’s rewind. The Raptors lost to the Cavaliers in six games last year, and in the first two games they were outscored by a total of 50 points. They rolled the core back, fortified it at the trade deadline, and were in a better position than last year to take a swing at the defending champions. Their progress has resulted in an 0-2 hole by a total margin of 33, an improvement that falls entirely in the irrelevant.
The Raptors are playing poorly and appear to be no closer to the Cavaliers on the court, even though they may appear to be on paper. Before we get into the larger-scale questions a prompt and ugly loss in this series may bring — that might be a discussion of its own for another time, anyway — let’s try to recalibrate the series. The Raptors have played a little better than the scoring margin may suggest, although that seems like grasping for straws. They played better in Game 2 from a process perspective, and the Cavaliers just flung napalm in response. They have been here before and bounced back at home, meaningless though that now feels in retrospect.
Continue reading at The Athletic.