East Finals: Final Toronto Check In

May 27, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A Toronto Raptors fan pulls a team flag over her companinon
May 27, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; A Toronto Raptors fan pulls a team flag over her companinon /

The East Finals is over so we close the door on the Toronto Raptors with one last check in.

We have been working with our counterpart at Raptors Rapture to discuss the East Finals. With the Raptors heading home, we checked in one last time:

Fill in the blank: Overall, the city, the fans and the team feel _______ about this season. Why?


The last thing the Raptors needed was a millstone around their neck, one labeled Playoff Flops. The series wins over Indiana and Miami were hardly classics, but the team’s core, which has been together for several seasons now, had to get them in the plus column. Otherwise fans would have been screaming for the head of Dwane Casey on a stick, the dumping of DeMar DeRozan, and other burning-down-the-house “solutions”.

The fans were amazing in the ECF, was that a normal, a slight step up or a huge difference from Raptors fans normally?

Fan support has never been an issue here, even in the franchise’s darkest hours. As you know, Toronto is a huge city, and one which is ravenously hungry for a winning team (in that sense, I suppose we’re like Cleveland).

The Blue Jays provided a jolt last fall, and now the Raptors have enjoyed a big season. The whole Jurassic Park concept has been a huge success. On a macro level, it demonstrates the importance of a city having a viable downtown. Thousands of people can gather in a public square, bond in a common purpose, then make their way home safely. As far as I know, there’s not been so much as a fistfight at these things.

Toronto is a very diverse place, dense with immigrants from all over the world, yet everyone loves the Raptors.

Besides LeBron James, what impressed you most about the Cavs?

I love the Cavs’ pace of play. They aren’t hanging around waiting for the time clock to count down. They move the ball and don’t hesitate to shoot when open.

I also enjoy the sense they are running plays, and not just making stuff up. There’s an enjoyable precision to their work.

What do you think the Cavs chances are for an NBA Title?

There’s no doubt they are the only Eastern Conference team which can give either of the Western finalists a ferocious series. The Cavs are healthy, so far as I can see, and are led by a driven genius of a player. A seven-game finals wouldn’t surprise me at all. If the West needs seven, I’ll take the rested Cavs to win the championship.

DeMar DeRozan is a free agent do you think he re-signs and should the Raptors max him out?

I think he’ll happily re-sign. He’s great friends with Kyle Lowry, and well-liked by everyone in the organization. DeMar has always talked loyalty, and I certainly don’t believe he wants to go to the Lakers and endure a rebuild. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

More from King James Gospel

Is he worth a max deal? I’ve got lots of readers who would say NO, because he’s a ball-stopper and a mediocre defender. A bunch more would say YES, because he’s been drafted and developed by the franchise, and it would be absurd to let him go now. He’s a consistent, healthy scorer and leader in the dressing room. How many of those guys are hanging around the street corner?

For me, I’d say YES.

What is the thing you will remember most from this series?

A great question…I suppose the excitement generated after the two home wins. Not that the series lacked excitement, but there was considerable trepidation that our team couldn’t trade punches with the bully down the street. Those wins cemented the feeling that the triumphs over Indiana and Miami weren’t flukes, and we could handle whatever happened next.

Even the downbeat last two games haven’t broken people’s spirits.