The Raptors – after revamping their offense to be more effective in the playoffs, after winning a franchise-record and Eastern Conference-best 59 games, after declaring this season championship or bust – have fallen behind 2-0 to the Cavaliers in their second round series with both losses in Toronto.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey:
One thing you have is pride. One thing you have is pride to go into Cleveland and play for pride. I don’t know what the history of down 0-2 is, but one thing I do know: Tonight wasn’t us, how we normally play for longer periods of time.
Playing for pride? That sounds like how a defeated team talks. How about playing to win?
That might be a tough sell, considering – despite Casey’s insistence otherwise – this is exactly how Toronto plays against the Cavs in the playoffs. The Raptors lost the most lopsided six-game series in NBA history to Cleveland two years ago then got swept by the Cavaliers last year.
Teams that have started a best-of-seven series with two home losses have won the series just 16% of the time. That’s far higher than the typical guess. The Raptors are still in this – but only if they believe they can win.