By Jay Rich
HHV Sports Senior Staff Writer
This season, the Toronto Raptors have been absolutely great, at certain points. Definitely, the Raptors proved they deserve to be in the conversation, especially after beating the Houston Rockets. But, as soon as the Raptors got their recognition, they fell off.
DeMar DeRozan is the leader of the Raptors and, even with Kyle Lowry there, it’s up to him to close it out. Simply put, with everybody watching, the Raptors, led by DeRozan, choked against Cleveland, again. This season, whether or not they go to the Finals, they have to beat them.
Not taking away from the Raptors’ ability to make the playoffs, but they always manage to underachieve. Back in 2015, the Raptors were expected to make noise, but instead got swept by Washington. If the playoffs started, today, they’d face those same Wizards in the first round.
Granted, the Wizards have collapsed, and are a shell of last year’s team, but does that matter? Is there a chance for the Wizards to capitalize on the Raptors, who also haven’t been playing too well, either. Had it not been for the season-ending injury to Kyrie Irving, the Celtics may have very well recaptured the number one seed, in the East, a spot the Raptors came out of nowhere to clinch.
Even with the Raptors opting to play the season out, the team isn’t looking as solid as they were, prior to the 132-129 loss, in Cleveland. Once again, among other things, there is the question of if they’ll be able to break their Game 1 curse and beat whomever their first round opponent, but John Wall and Bradley Beal won’t be a tough out, from Game 1 through a potential Game 7, regardless of friction.
Watch highlights of the Raptors vs. Wizards, this season below: