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Raptors make history, secure celebration 21 years in the making

The Toronto Raptors have finally made it to the NBA conference finals, dispatching the Miami Heat in seven


 
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts from the bench in the final minute of the game while playing against the Miami Heat during second half round two NBA basketball playoff action in Toronto on Sunday, May 15, 2016. The Raptors beat the Heat 116-89 to win the series in seven games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts from the bench in the final minute of the game while playing against the Miami Heat during second half round two NBA basketball playoff action in Toronto on Sunday, May 15, 2016. The Raptors beat the Heat 116-89 to win the series in seven games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

This story, by Michael Grange, appeared first at Sportsnet.ca.

So, define ‘special?’

That was the question put to Kyle Lowry a few days ago. The Toronto Raptors had just lost Jonas Valanciunas. They were mired in an ugly, tight, second-round series against the Miami Heat, and he and his all-star backcourt mate, DeMar DeRozan had played most of the post-season like the basket was moving.

What would happen if he and DeRozan could ever return to their regular season form, if they could shed their own decidedly so-so playoff pasts?

“I think we’d have an opportunity to do something special,” said Lowry. “We’re not playing well and I think we still have an opportunity to do something special. And that’s the scary thing.”

And special? What did he mean?

“Finals,” he said.

Well, that seems a little hard to imagine, but the dream remains alive and should be savoured.

In the meantime Lowry, DeRozan, the Raptors and every hardscrabble Raptors fan who dared to believe for the past 21 years are on a ride that’s not over yet.

Read the rest of this story at Sportsnet. Read our Q&A with Masai Ujiri here.


 

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