Raptors Sinking Resources Into Sleep
It was the evening of May 4, 2014 – Game 7 of the Raptors’ memorable first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets. Paul Pierce had just blocked Kyle Lowry’s last-second floater, bringing an end to Toronto’s improbable run and first postseason appearance in six years.
Moments after the buzzer sounded, after DeMar DeRozan famously peeled Lowry off the Air Canada Centre court, Jonas Valanciunas sat in front of his locker and reflected on what went wrong. The 21-year-old sophomore centre had recorded a double-double in each of his first three playoff contests, but his impact faded as the series went on, culminating in one of the worst games he’s ever played. Valanciunas missed four of his five shots and scored three points in 27 minutes that afternoon. The Raptors were minus-23 with him on the floor, plus-22 with him off it.