Against the Cavaliers in the playoffs, however, DeRozan was at his worst, scoring 67 points on 66 shots over the course of the four-game sweep with his three worst +/- outings of the season in succession to end the year.
Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks with Kevin Love #0 during the second half of Game 4 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Quicken Loans Arena on May 7, 2018 in Cleveland.
"They wanted it more than us", Valanciuas said.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 and Kyle Lowry had 10 assists to lead the exasperated Raptors.
"Before the season began we all predicted it was going to be Cleveland versus Boston; Kyrie versus LeBron and we couldn't wait but Kyrie got hurt and he had to be out".
This might seem a little too soon (especially since the Boston Celtics just dropped Game 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers), but is it possible that the Celtics could defy all odds and make it to the NBA Finals? I think LeBron only had a couple points in the first few minutes of the game.
DeRozan meanwhile was at a loss to explain yet another defeat to the Cavs. "Maybe they just got our number, things just don't go right for us, whatever it is, it could be a lot of things".
Toronto enters a third offseason in a row in which they have to answer the same main question, and it will only get harder for them to preach patience with a core group that has an apparent ceiling in the postseason. "It's been a challenge for us over the years".
"To be able to put ourselves in the position to represent the Eastern Conference in the Finals, it's all you can ask for", LeBron James said after the Game 4 win.
McConnell had a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in only his second start of the season and meshed well in the backcourt with Ben Simmons. Dario Saric led Philadelphia with 25 points and eight rebounds, but getting Simmons back on track was key.
That 43, embellished with eight rebounds and 14 assists, was a follow-up to LeBron's triple-double 26-11-13 as Cleveland eked out a 113-112 overtime triumph in Game One that was unfairly dismissed as "a steal of a win" for the Cavs.
Casey also mentioned that the Raptors had good chances to take a game or two from the Cavs, which would have changed the narrative of their season. "There's no better player to help catapult that kind of mindset than TJ He's like a throwback kind of player".
With NBA teams down 3-0 having lost all 129 series, the Sixers may need more than spirit to pull off this stunner.