Raptors eager for another shot at Cavs

The Canadian Press
Lori Ewing

TORONTO–The morning after the Toronto Raptors’ ugly overtime loss to Cleveland on Tuesday night, Kyle Lowry was decidedly upbeat as he strode to the press conference podium with a jaunty, “What’s up people?”
If there was any stewing or frustration about dropping Game 1 of their second-round series against the Cavaliers, it’s that the Raptors had to wait another full day to take a second swing at their nemesis.
“Yeah [I’m upbeat],” Lowry said yesterday. “We play in less than 28 hours, and get a chance to go back out there and get back on the court.”
While the angst of Raptors’ fans flooded social media, the players insist it’s a different feeling than the previous two seasons that saw Toronto ousted by Cleveland, including a humiliating four-game sweep in last year’s second round.
As they studied video yesterday morning at Biosteel Centre, the countless uncharacteristic mistakes in a game that came down to just one point were obvious.
“We should have won. We should have had that game, and it was more of ‘Damn, we gotta wait to redeem ourselves, to get this feeling off of us,'” DeMar DeRozan said.
“That was more the feeling.”
The Raptors became just the second team in 20 years to lose a playoff game after leading for every minute of regulation time.
They had numerous chances to close the game out, including an almost laughable scramble under the basket that saw four missed shots–from DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas, and C.J. Miles–all fail to fall in less than four seconds.
“You ever see the movie ‘The 6th Man?'” DeRozan asked with a grin. “It was like somebody was sitting on the rim.
“Antoine was sitting on the rim knocking them out. It sucked.”
In the 1997 comedy DeRozan referenced, Kadeem Hardison plays “Antoine,” who dies of a heart attack while dunking but returns as a ghost to help his University of Washington team win.
“We had a lot of great looks,” DeRozan added. “I thought my putback was good, C.J.’s, J.V.’s. . . .
“Like I said, just Antoine sitting up there, knocking the ball out.”
Fred VanVleet had two wide-open three-point attempts, at the end of both regulation and overtime.
Either one would have given Toronto the win.
“Talking to him and showing him the shots–two great looks that he feels good with and we feel good with,” coach Dwane Casey said.
A day after the loss, the Raptors were perplexed about the lack of video review for an elbow DeRozan took from Kevin Love to the face, later upgraded by the NBA to a flagrant 1.
Love had the ball and was swinging wildly, connecting with DeRozan’s chin. DeRozan went down and was slow to get up.
“I’m made of steel,” DeRozan joked.
Casey was less amused. Asked if he’d received an explanation for why the referees didn’t review the play on video, he replied, “Not a good one, not a good one.”
Had the flagrant foul been called, the Raptors would have been awarded two free throws and maintained possession of the ball, which could have altered the outcome of the game drastically.
Following tonight’s game, the series shifts to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4.
On the courts last night, Utah beat Houston 116-108 to even their second-round series at 1-1.

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