Well, that’s a RAP.
I personally felt the game’s fate was sealed from the beginning with the Raptors trailing for practically the whole game and the referees benching key players like Bismack Biyombo after one too many flagrant fouls. Thanks to Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan, we had some moments of optimism, but it just got further out of our reach and unfortunately home court advantage just wasn’t cutting it this time.
And being a bandwagon fan (as is usually the case), the one thing I really admired about this whole experience was the great sportsmanship between the players. Once the game ended, both teams showed immense mutual respect for one another and spoke warmly of each other’s performance. That to me is a true winner, in the face of defeat. It’s not about feeling humiliated that you lost on your own turf, it’s not even about the fact that you lost – rather it’s about how you handle that loss that truly makes you shine.
At the end of the day, we are all human beings – including these great, larger-than-life, players. The threat of exhaustion, the pressure to win and fate are all deciding factors in the outcome.
The Raptors have a lot to be proud of this season. Who would have anticipated there even being a Game 6 after the Raptors started out with a 2-0 deficit at the start of the Eastern Conference finals?
They have earned a tremendous amount of respect in the NBA and their performance throughout these finals prove that they are no longer the underdog – but a true force to be reckoned with. This was their first trip ever to the Eastern Conference finals – and it won’t be their last.
So although the mood might be somber right now, they will get their heads up and be back, even stronger and fiercer than ever, next season.
In the words of Kyle Lowry himself in this post-game press conference, “We tip our hats off to those guys. They did what we want to do. They’ve been to where we want to get to.”
Kyle, you and the team on the right track – and you will get there.
Congratulations again to the Toronto Raptors on an amazing 2016 season!