It was not pretty but they got it done. The Raptors are moving on to the second round as they beat the Indiana Pacers 89-84. They have not felt this feeling in Toronto in almost 14 years. Toronto sports have had their fair share of sports struggles in the past decade. From the Raptors not being able to move out of the first round, to the struggling Maple Leafs franchise, to the Blue Jays just finally hitting their successful stride after two plus decades of mediocrity, it’s safe to say that people in Toronto are jumping for joy this evening.
It may also have been the game that saves DeMar DeRozan from leaving this summer. DeRozan shot 10-32 from the field for 30 points, but his hustle and versatility combined with Lowry being the floor general, set up a recipe for success even though they only shot 38% from the floor.
With the Raptors moving on to the second round, there are some questions going forward for Toronto if they want to make a serious push for the Finals.
Can the Raptors beat Miami?
With Miami moving on to the second round by beating a very good Charlotte Hornets team by 33, the Raptors should be cautious of their next opponent. Even though Miami is hot right now, they are playing a team they did beat four out of the five match ups this season. The Raptors need to find a way to get around Hassan Whiteside’s inside presence. Whiteside has been a force inside for Miami and Jonas Valanciunas is going to need to step up for the Raptors.
Can Kyle Lowry Find His Stride Again?
Going into tonight’s game, Lowry was shooting a woeful 31% from the floor and 18% from beyond the arc. He didn’t have great numbers again tonight as he only dropped 11 points and was 0-4 from three point land. He was able to get away with it today but against a hot team like Miami, you can’t have that type of poor, inconsistent play at the point guard position.
“I don’t care what’s happened in Games 1-6,” Lowry said. “I don’t care if I’m shooting 31 percent. I don’t care. If I’m shooting zero percent, I’ve got a clear, empty clip. You can change everything in one game.”
For Toronto, it seems that the recipe for winning is simple. They have to get off to a fast start, limit turnovers, and move the basketball. They didn’t have their best offense game as a whole tonight, but they hit their threes when they needed to, Their bench play will prove to be a big factor as well.
This Toronto team is fun to watch. They have the whole city of Toronto behind them in this upcoming series. There is a reason they have the two seed in the Eastern conference. They deserve to be in this position. They just need to take advantage.