Kyle Lowry drove into the lane, jumped and then revealed a striking reality:
He had absolutely no plan.
Just before returning to the floor, he threw a desperate pass that the Pacers stole. Paul George scored on the other end, continuing a late 13-2 run as the Raptors unraveled down the stretch of a 100-90 loss to Indiana on Saturday.
Toronto became the first team in NBA history to open the playoffs with a home loss three straight years – and there’s plenty of reason to fear the ramifications. The Raptors lost to the Nets as the No. 3 seed in 2014 and got swept by the Wizards as the No. 4 seed last year. No. 2 seed Toronto isn’t necessarily doomed to drop this series, too, but the start looks awfully similar – right down to a player named Paul tormenting the Raptors.
George, who follows Paul Pierce as Toronto’s nemesis, is playing for the lower seed in a first-round series for the first time since his rookie year.
“I love it. I love it,” said George, who had 33 points, six assists and four steals. “I’m looking at it as no pressure.”
The Raptors have to be feeling plenty.
Lowry (3-for-13, including 1-for-7 on 3-pointers, with six turnovers) and DeMar DeRozan (5-for-19, including 0-for-3 on 3-pointers, with three turnovers) were particularly dreadful. The only upside for Toronto was all their missed gave Jonas Valanciunas(12 points and 19 rebounds, 11 offensive, in 21 minutes before fouling out) plenty of opportunities to excel on the glass.
Toronto is now 1-8 in franchise history in Game 1s, including 0-4 at home. For a team trying to escape the black cloud of the last two postseasons, this was a distressing start.