Title: The Raptors have been here before (kind of): What’s different now than in 2016
Date: May 23, 2019
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the last time the Raptors found themselves tied 2-2- in the conference final and why it feels so different this time around.
The legality of Matthew Dellavedova’s screens are still debated. Channing Frye’s name can incite shudders. Richard Jefferson single-handedly pushed the barrier for capri pants in Toronto back beyond the playoff window.
The 2016 Eastern Conference finals did damage to the psyche of Raptors fans. That damage, though, was of a completely new and welcomed variety. The Raptors had made it, their berth in the third round of the playoffs against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers representing a bold new day for the franchise. Never before had they been this deep into the playoffs, after some first-round struggles threatened to expose the 2014 kickstart of the We The North era as premature, short-lived and ill-fated. They rebounded, though, beating the Pacers in seven and then doing the same to the Heat, setting up a date with James.