23 days of Toronto Raptors history: Swept by Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and Toronto Raptors OG Anunoby - (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James and Toronto Raptors OG Anunoby - (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

We continue our “23 days of Toronto Raptors history” with last year’s postseason sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Heading into the 2017-2018 season, Toronto had already established a history of playoff failures. Toronto was the butt of every joke, and although sometimes unfair, (plenty of other teams also lost to LeBron James) most of their playoff concerns were valid.

But 2017-2018 was going to be different. The team scrapped its old isolation heavy offense for a new system predicated on ball and player movement. Toronto finished with the best record in franchise history, earned the number one seed in the Eastern conference, and the team genuinely felt different.

Round one, Toronto took care of business beating a talented, if dysfunctional, Washington Wizards team.

More from All-Time Lists

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers struggled. The returning Eastern Conference champions finished as the fourth seed. Partially due to apathy. Partially due to an older, volatile roster. The Cavaliers squeaked out a seven-game series with the Indiana Pacers in which they were outscored by 40.

By all accounts Toronto looked like the team destined to win this series.

Game one in Toronto was electric, and the Raptors jumped out to a commanding lead. It disappeared quickly. After the first Toronto led by 14. By half Cleveland nearly evened the score.

The game teetered back and forth until, with eight seconds remaining and the game tied, and the Raptors had an opportunity to win the game at the buzzer.

DeRozan drove inside, made the right basketball play and kicked it out to a wide open Fred VanVleet. He missed. The ball bounced to DeRozan who attempted a tip-back. He missed. C.J. Miles got an opportunity. He missed. Jonas Valanciunas got the best opportunity of the bunch! He missed.

Who knows what happens if Toronto wins that game. Do they win the series? Probably not. But with game one and momentum, they at least have a shot.

Game two the Raptors were simply a bystander to LeBron James greatness. James did whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. He finished with 43 points, 14 assists, and eight rebounds and legitimately outplayed his stat-line.

Game three was the dagger.

The Cavaliers dominated the first 34 minutes of the game and led by 16 with two minutes remaining in the third. Toronto didn’t fold. The team clawed and fought back. OG Anunoby tied the game with eight seconds remaining.

LeBron James once again made history. Toronto lost the game, and for all intents and purposes, the series.

Game four was a blowout. Toronto scored just 93 points, and while it’s not fair to say this team quit, they clearly no longer believed. Just like that, Toronto went from a franchise high, to an unbelievable low.

Next. Creating the Raptors All-Time Roster. dark

Checkout tomorrow when we conclude our “23 days of Toronto Raptors history” as we discuss the Kawhi Leonard trade.