Toronto, the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference currently, have held on to the spot for quite a while now. The team which commenced the season at a slow pace, gradually moved their way up in the rankings, until they beat the Celtics to claim the top spot. Raptors star DeMar DeRozan has been terrific this season alongside Kyle Lowry who has been equally outstanding. And their performances have only been highlighted by the phenomenal plays from teammates like Jonas Valančiūnas and Serge Ibaka. But in spite of what one might call, ‘The teams best season in ages”, the Raptors still don’t seem to be getting the recognition they deserve.
To be fair to the critics and analysts out there, the Raptors poor playoffs performance over the years is what makes them so under-appreciated. In 9 playoffs appearances in franchise history, the closest this team has been to the title was reaching the Eastern Conference finals in 2016, only to lose against the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-2 run. But it’s a different story for the Raptors this season, as they became the first team to clinch the playoff birth after their win against the Detroit Pistons recently. And to top it all off, the Raptors, as of today, are on a 7 game win streak after recently defeating the Western Conference No. 1 seed Houston Rockets.
In spite of losing to the Cavs in the 2016 Conference Finals, the Raptors did manage to take more than a game against a team which starred LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. And now with Kyrie on the Celtics, it definitely has been a tough year for the Cavs as the team has continuously struggled with lack of chemistry amongst players owing to trust issues and repetitive roster changes.
All in all, it looks like the Raptors have a upper hand over the Cavs or any other team for that matter and win or lose, they would definitely force the opponents to a Game 7. Maybe, just maybe, than can they get the acknowledgement they are worthy of.