[OC] Top 10 most painful Raptors games in franchise history
This was initially going to be a nostalgic short essay about how much I loved the 2018-2019 Raptors, but as I was in the midst of a short trip down memory lane, I was ironically also reminded how many times the Raptors had come up short in big games, or worse, been a full-on laughing stock
over the course of the franchise’s 23 seasons prior.
Watching the Raptors finally reach the mountain top was intoxicating. After years of soul-crushing playoff failures, the Raptors had a post-season for the ages, closing out the Warriors in a terrific 6-game Finals series. Kawhi was simply incredible. Siakam was terrific. Lowry was vindicated.
The supporting cast was near perfect.
It was an extremely satisfying journey as a long-time, die-hard Raptors fanatic. So good, in fact, Kawhi leaving did not tarnish the accomplishment
whatsoever; this helped.
The only thing I would have changed would have been the Masai/ Oakland cop dust-up. Oh well.
For me and countless other tenured Raptors fans, the heart-breaking moments in previous seasons were silently the reason the 2019 Raptors season was such a thrilling roller coaster ride; you can’t enjoy the sun shining without a little rain. Make sure keep a strong adult beverage close by as you step into the time machine with me; the nice memories end here. #10 - December 3rd, 2013 – Game 17 @ Golden State Warriors - Box Score
Coming off three straight losses, Toronto is 6-10 to start the 2013-2014 campaign and we’re about 40 or so games into the Rudy Gay experiment, two weeks removed from an all-time “Please stop shooting the ball” performance against Houston; Gay shot 11-37 for 29 points in a double-overtime loss (DeRozan was not far behind with 22 points on 6-25 shooting.) After the natural pre-season optimism wore off, trade rumours were already brewing and Raptors fans were collectively not enjoying the season up to this point; this team just wasn’t a lot of fun to watch on most nights.
Curry and the Warriors are off to a decent start at 10-8 but expectations are much higher after their 2013 Playoff explosion and the off-season addition of Andre Iguodala. They haven’t yet unlocked their potential (they still haven’t even hired Steve Kerr at this point) but they are definitely a dangerous team with firepower galore.
Toronto begins the game on fire, leading 36-19 after the first quarter and maintaining the 17-point lead going into halftime. The Raptors keep their foot on the gas to begin the second half, ripping off 10 straight in the first 3 minutes and ballooning their lead to 27 points (75-48.) Watching the game live, things could not have looked any better; I even started to let my guard down a bit, confident the Raptors could hold on and get back on track with an impressive road victory.
Yea... about that...
Golden State outscores the Raptors 64 to 28 from that point on, though it was not immediately obvious an avalanche was about to be unleashed. The Warriors climb back into the game and are down 18 heading into the fourth quarter, when all hell breaks loose. The Raptors are decimated by good Warriors ball movement and playmaking, a three-point barrage, as well as their own scoring drought, all while the home crowd at Oracle is raising the volume to deafening levels.
The fourth quarter is 42-15 in favour of the Warriors; after leading by 27, the Raptors ultimately lose by 9, 112-103. This game had to have given GM Masai Ujiri ammunition to clean house; I can only assume many phone calls were made in the hours following this mess. The Raptors had lost valuable momentum in the right direction for the season, in one game, and the fans were left with their head in their hands.
#9 - 2019 – Game 1, Quarter-Finals vs. Orlando Magic - Box Score
It’s mid-April in Toronto and the cold is beginning to melt away; it’s become synonymous with Playoff basketball as fans pack Maple Leaf Square, transforming it into the vaunted Jurassic Park. The excitement is always palpable, and this naturally tinges the air with a unique brand of cautious optimism. The media is ready as always to inform the world that the Raptors’ record in Game 1’s is terrible. Coming into this game, the Raptors are 1-9 in the first game of the playoffs. For whatever reason, regardless of the talent on the floor, the Raptors are notorious for getting off on the wrong foot.
This season has been a bit of an experiment, with off-season import Kawhi Leonard now leading the pack to a 58-win season, one shy of the team’s regular season record. The Raptors are facing a feisty Orlando Magic squad that have won 11 of 13 games coming into the playoffs, their 42-40 season record not properly reflecting the ability and tenacity of the team. Despite the history of Game 1 disappointments, this Raptors squad is fundamentally different and carries itself with a certain swagger and confidence.
The Raptors start the game well, though they can’t seem to establish a firm grip on the lead. Orlando suddenly catches fire towards the end of the first half, going on a 15-0 run to take a 57-41 lead as the crowd began to get uncomfortable in their seats. The Raptors restore order in the second half and a competitive game continues well into the fourth quarter. With a minute and a half remaining, Leonard drills a game-tying triple, the game knotted at 99-all. Orlando misses on the other end, Leonard grabs the rebound and dribbles down as the crowd begins to get hyped; he isolates on Aaron Gordon and knocks down a tough baseline jumper with a minute left. Things are looking good!
Orlando’s DJ Augustin ties the game back up with a driving lay-up, then Marc Gasol goes for a kill-shot triple that comes up short. With 4 seconds left, DJ Augustin is given a disappointing amount of space and hits a deep three-ball. Ok, well that sucks... but we’ve still got the ball and Kawhi is a clutch performer, right? Inbound pass goes to Leonard, who fires up a deep fadeaway 3-pointer... that sails out of bounds for an airball. Orlando inbounds the ball after a timeout and the game is over. The crowd is stunned.
How does this happen every year? It’s truly inexplicable. Local media was eating up the Raptors choke angle. Lowry did nothing to aid his playoff reputation at the time, going scoreless while his counterpart Augustin dropped a cool 25. As a die-hard Lowry defender, I understand and vouch for the fact that Kyle is always contributing in more ways than just scoring, but to see him deliver a Donut was tough to digest, especially in such a close game where the rest of the team held their end up.
The bright side to this loss? It proved to be just what Toronto needed. We later learned that, shockingly, Nick Nurse was unhappy with the outcome. In the process of reaming out the team, a fire was lit under the players’ collective asses, and the team never looked back.
#8 - April 4th, 2010 – Game 76 vs. Golden State Warriors - Box Score
Coming into this game, the Raptors are 38-37, just managing to stay in the playoff race for the 8th seed. Their competition for the 8th spot is Derrick Rose and the upstart Chicago Bulls, both teams basically separated by a game or two in the standings. Toronto is led by Chris “Predator” Bosh, early-peak Andrea Bargnani and, with all due respect, a whole other cast of meh. This was also the Hedo Turkoglu season, which will go down in infamy as one of the least enjoyable times in our short history.
Golden State is 22-53, and have been struggling thru a season of transition with multiple trades occurring and plagued by injuries. This combo led to Golden State fielding short-handed line-ups with a variety of D-League call-ups throughout the year, the group led by Monta Ellis, Corey Maggette and a rookie sensation by the name of Stephen Curry. The Warriors were not a pushover opponent, but considering the stakes and obvious urgency for Toronto, this was a victory on paper for the Raptors.
Skip to halfway thru the fourth quarter and... the Raptors are down by 16 with just under 7 minutes remaining. Curry just put in a layup and the Raptors call timeout. The crowd is not happy about it and lets the team know about with a chorus of boos; the team seems defeated yet there’s so much time remaining.
The Raptors find their footing again and mount a strong comeback from this point on. The final minute is basically a free-throw shooting contest, and with 2.9 seconds left, Bosh is at the free-throw line shooting two, the Raptors down 113-110. He makes both, and now the Warriors need to inbound under their basket. Turiaf tries to sneak a pass to Curry, but the pass is intercepted and miraculously saved inbounds by Raptors guard Sonny Weems, tossing it back to Bosh standing at the charge/ block circle.
Bosh gathers the ball and goes up for a layup... that bounces off the backboard and rim, followed by Turiaf tipping the rebound out to half court and the clock expiring. Raptors lose, 113-112. The crowd reaction to the missed layup says it all.
A strange caveat of the game was this victory is Don Nelson’s 1332nd victory as a head coach, tying him for the all-time record with Lenny Wilkins. It was a bit of salt in the Raptors’ wound to see the Warriors celebrating this particular victory considering the significance and how it ended, but it was much deserved for Nelson.
Despite this loss, the Raptors were still in the playoff hunt, but this game seemed to break their back, so to speak, as they would go on to lose their next 4 games as well, including to their playoff race rival Bulls a couple games later. Little did we know this would also be Bosh’s last season with Toronto; he did not leave on a bad note but the ending of this season was extremely dissatisfying and ranks in my books as one of the most frustrating in franchise history.
#7 - November 21st, 2008 – Game 12 vs. New Jersey Nets - Box Score
Vince Carter and crushing the Raptors; name a more iconic duo. As covered earlier in dis-honourable mention, Carter has a penchant for breaking the Raptors spirits, and came into this one with a game-winner in Toronto already under his belt. There was no reason to believe this game was going to be anything special prior to the tip, but with Carter in town, there are usually fireworks, and as the game progressed it took on the feel of another regular season classic.
The Raptors are rolling and go up by as many as 18 before the Nets climbed back in. Devin Harris was particularly hot in 4th quarter, but of course Vince Carter made his presence felt as well. The game remains close down the stretch, and the Raptors are up 2 with Anthony Parker at the free-throw line. Parker misses the first, but nails the second, the Raptors now clinging to a 3-point lead.
3.4 seconds left and the crowd is alive. Inbound pass goes to Vince, and with Anthony Parker right in his face, Carter drills a triple with 0.5 remaining. The ball seemed to hang in the air for an extra dreadful second before going in. Vince passionately screams at the ceiling as he comes back down the floor. It was so predictable yet it still hurt so much. The Raptors don’t even get an attempt off after that and we go to overtime.
The Raptors and Nets trade baskets in overtime before the Nets take a 4-point lead. Bosh nails a tough three-ball, then the Nets’ Jarvis Hayes gets fouled and makes both free throws. Anthony Parker ties the game with an epic catch and shoot three-ball with 2.1 seconds left that blows the roof off the Air Canada Centre. What a game. A second overtime would be nice.
The Raptors choose to defend man-to-man on the ensuing inbounds play as the Nets spread the floor out, leaving the paint and basket area wide open. Various Nets set screens and move around, and amid the confusion, the Nets’ Jarvis Hayes throws a perfect inbound lob to none other than Vincent Lamar Carter who REVERSE-ALLEY-OOP-DUNKS the game-winning basket with 1.5 seconds to go, the moment perfectly encapsulated in four words by play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin: “Oh no!!... 1.5 … Devastating.”
Words cannot describe how much this hurt to watch. The arena was shocked and the team was broken. Parker tossed up a last-second heave to no avail, and Vince Carter once again left his old stomping grounds as the victorious villian. To understand the level of pain Vince Carter inflicted, you have to understand the history of the beef.
Vince has not always been the winner of matchups against his former team, but he always brought a little extra for these games; he seemed to relish being the bad guy in Toronto, the crowd booing every time he touched the ball and delightedly cheering his every miss. Sadly for Raptor fans, Vince Carter was very good at making clutch shots while wearing an opposing uniform, especially on Canadian soil.
#6 - 2018 – Game 1, Conference Semi-Finals vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Box Score
Toronto has just come off a satisfying series win against the pesky Washington Wizards, disposing over an overconfident but underachieving squad in 6 games. There’s tremendous anticipation for the next round, with the Raptors facing the Cavaliers for the 3rd straight season. The Cavs just came off a 7-game series against the Pacers where they looked vulnerable and overly dependent on the heroics of LeBron. The feeling was that the Raptors were deeper, well-balanced and more cohesive, ready to ascend and take the throne, while the Cavs are a shell of themselves and still trying to work out the kinks after making multiple mid-season trades. Throw in national sports channel commercials highlighting years of playoff scars and promoting the Raptors as contenders (i.e “The time is now!”) and you had Raptors fans wanting blood.
The Raptors are showing no fear, playing very strong basketball and showing their versatility and balance through the first three quarters. Centre Jonas Valanciunas is especially feasting on the smaller Cavaliers lineups, finishing the game with 21 rebounds and generally causing problems in the paint. The Cavs keep it close with timely three-pointers and fierce offensive rebounding from Tristan Thompson, the Raptors holding a thin 5-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Raptors keep their foot on the gas but they can’t seem to shake the Cavs. Buttholes begin clenching with about 5 minutes left, as the starters for both teams come back in to close the game. Toronto is strategically attacking the paint, trying to draw fouls and also trying to get more touches for Valanciunas. Unfortunately, despite Valanciunas’ clear size advantage, he isn’t converting when it matters, missing 6 of his 7 shot attempts from within 6 feet of the basket in the fourth quarter. Yes, it was tough to watch, thanks for asking.
Skip to the final minute; you can feel the sense of urgency for the Raptors to win but LeBron just won’t go away. The King backs down OG Anunoby on the right block and steps back for a fadeaway jumper that rattles home. Tie game at 105, Raptors have the ball with 30 seconds left.
Raptors run a play for DeRozan, who drives in from the right wing, then fools the entire Cavs defence by kicking it back to Van Vleet for three... too long! DeRozan rebounds and puts it up again from 8 feet out... no good! CJ Miles on the tip... a second time... Valanciunas tips it... still no score! Unbelievable. You couldn’t believe it even if you had just watched it. Why can’t this team make the big shot?
Overtime swings to the Cavs, who make a couple three balls and Tristan Thompson puts in a tough offensive rebound put back off a LeBron miss to take a 113-107 lead. The Raptors keep it close, but down 1 point late in overtime, DeRozan drives in, passes out to VanVleet again... who misses again. Cavs win.
Though the argument could be made at the time that it just one game, this Game 1 loss was monumental. Purely from a psyche standpoint, the Raptors virtually needed to win this game. Not only as a pressure release with the stakes so high, but also as a confidence booster for a team tortured on an annual basis by LeBron James and company. LeBron shot 12-30 in this game, an anomaly in retrospect and more evidence that this was without a doubt a lost opportunity to get into the right gear for the rest of the series.
#5 - 2018 – Game 4, Conference Semi-Finals @ Cleveland Cavaliers - Box Score
This entries’ place on the list is certainly debatable, but there’s no denying its validity and resonance. This game was the nail in the coffin for the 2018 Raptors; for me it was the basketball equivalent of watching your best friend pick a fight with the biggest guy at the bar, then viewing the subsequent ass-kicking knowing you can’t do anything to stop it.
Toronto is down 3-0 to Cleveland at this point, and hope is almost certainly lost for the team to make a series comeback. Cleveland has outplayed the Raptors for the better part of the three previous games, and at this point, the Raptors are playing for pride and trying not to get swept; Casey made this point very clear. Winning 1 game isn’t that much better than a sweep, but the idea that you put up a fight does mean something in retrospect.
The Cavs close out the first half on a 12-0 run to take a 16-point lead. Larger deficits have been made up, but time is running out and the Raptors haven’t exactly looked desperate to win. The Cavs continue to pour it on in the second half, and with 25 seconds left in the third quarter, VanVleet turns the ball over, leading to DeMar DeRozan chasing down Jordan Clarkson and committing a hard foul in an attempt to block the shot. Clarkson made the basket for an And-1, while DeRozan’s foul was assessed as a Flagrant Two. The team’s best player was ejected from the final game of the season with 13 points. The Cavs outscored the Raptors by 12 in the third quarter to take a 28-point lead going into the fourth; it’s ugly, but hopefully it doesn’t get worse. (Narrator: it got worse.)
The Cavs continue to beat down Toronto; the Raptors are waving the white flag but there’s no way out. To be quite honest, the fourth quarter was the most depressing quarter of NBA basketball I’ve ever seen. If there was a mercy rule in the NBA, it would have happened after LeBron added this shot to his lengthy career highlight reel. After an obscene amount of garbage time, the game (and Raptors season) was officially over.
Final score: 128-93. Just like that, the magical 59-win regular season went up in smoke and it was back to the drawing board for Masai and company. Let the memes begin.
LeBron simply had the Raptors’ number every time they faced off, and this series cemented his status in Toronto Playoff lore as the ultimate brick wall. One of the most incredible stats from this series: LeBron alone had 136 points, 45 assists and 33 rebounds in the series, while Lowry and DeRozan combined for 138 points, 46 assists and 30 rebounds. I mean... that’s just staggering. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team more broken by an individuals’ presence than these Raptors.
#4 - 2015 – Game 3, Quarter-Finals vs. Washington Wizards - Box Score
The Raptors have recently completed the most successful season in franchise history, winning 49 games and securing a second-straight playoff birth. The Raptors were a force to be reckoned with going into All-Star break at 36-17; the surprisingly-successful roster of the previous season was intact and thriving, strong and well-balanced on both ends. Post-All Star break is a different story; Toronto would win 13 of their next 29 games, with Lowry struggling with back spasms and the offense sputtering as the season wound down. They would finish as the fourth seed, matching up with the John Wall and Paul Pierce-led Washington Wizards.
There was a sense of cautious optimism heading into the post-season; we weren’t sure which team would show up in the First Round, but the loyal playoff crowd would be right behind them. Unfortunately, the good Raptors were M.I.A through the first two games; the Wizards stole two in Toronto and just like that, full-blown negativity was on the menu. Lowry was really struggling in particular, averaging just 6.5 points and 5 assists on 25% in the first two games.
Game 3 was back in Washington and looked promising to begin with; DeRozan came out on fire, scoring 20 points and hitting 3 three-pointers in the first quarter, but the Wizards kept pace and took the lead going into halftime. The second half was filled with some semi-ugly basketball but it was close late in the fourth quarter. The Wizards led 92-90 with 2:40 left, then Otto Porter and Paul Pierce nailed back-to-back threes to stretch the lead to 8 with 2 minutes remaining, the latter shot prompting play-by-play announcer Mark Davis to comment, “insert the knife!” Things were not looking good at this point, though a minute later, Kyle Lowry closed the gap to 3 with less than a minute to go. Not to be outdone by a Raptor, Paul Pierce once again drilled a three-pointer with 17 seconds left; the fork could be stuck in alongside the knife.
This loss hurt for multiple reasons; we had watched the Raptors go from the top-seed in the East around mid-season, to the 4th seed and a first-round flame out. Pierce eliminating the Raptors last season with a clutch block, then basically eliminating them on a different team just one season later was extra salt on the wound. Lowry was battling back problems for the 2nd half of the season, but it was difficult watching the All-Star starter’s poor performance in this series. This series was the beginning of the “Lowry isn’t a playoff performer” narrative that followed him until he won the chip in 2019.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman out-coached Dwane Casey for 4 straight games, but Casey also made some questionable line-up decisions. The most glaring of those decisions: why was James Johnson, arguably the best defensive player on the Raptors, riding the bench while Paul Pierce was torching defenders left and right? Masai Ujiri had signed Johnson in the offseason on the cheap, had some solid moments in the season, then hardly saw the floor in the playoffs, totalling 11 minutes and 54 seconds of playing time in the Wizards series. Really frustrating stuff on the whole that left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
#3 - 2018 – Game 2, Conference Semi-Finals vs. Cleveland Cavaliers - Box Score
Coming off the disappointment of Game 1 of the series, expectations were high for Toronto to respond in a big way. All season, the Raptors had proven themselves to be a team capable of making adjustments and counter-acting opponents’ strategy, and despite the Raptors’ history (to that point) of underachieving/ choking/[insert insult here], there was plenty of revenge-flavored tension in the air and the opportunity to punch Cleveland back in the mouth was still hanging in the balance.
The first half was competitive as expected, with Toronto playing good basketball and looking fearless. The team definitely still looked and felt different than previous seasons; they seem to have absorbed the game 1 outcome, and came back ready to fight. The Raptors lead by 2 at the half.
LeBron and the Cavs come out guns blazing in the third quarter, knocking down several three-pointers and opening up a double-digit lead heading into the fourth quarter. In an obvious effort to provide more spacing and shooting for his offense, Dwane Casey opted to start three-point specialist CJ Miles to begin the second half, but this also created a giant mismatch on the other end, with CJ Miles guarding All-Star big man Kevin Love. The Cavs would take advantage of this with multiple post-up plays run for Love who feasted on the smaller Miles in the paint.
LeBron was scoring at a decent clip up till about the 3:30 mark of the third quarter when he activated his cheat code and transformed into Basketball Jesus:
Exhibit A: Fadeaway from 15 feet over Siakam.
Exhibit B: Step-back 28-footer over Siakam.
Exhibit C: Fadeaway from 18 feet over Lowry.
Exhibit D: Another fadeaway from 18 feet over Lowry.
Exhibit E: Baseline fadeaway 17-footer over Siakam.
Exhibit F: Fadeaway from the free-throw line against Anunoby.
Good defense by DeRozan, LeBron fumbles the ball and has to pass out to Jeff Green... who nails a bail-out three-pointer.
Exhibit G: Fadeaway from about 13 feet over DeRozan.
Exhibit H: Shimmy shake and fadeaway from 19 feet over Anunoby.
I was surprised to look back at the play-by-play log to see he actually missed three shots during this stretch; watching live he didn’t seem to understand what missing a shot was. The crowd was completely stunned by his performance, an absolute erradication of any optimistic thoughts of winning a home game in the series. ESPN Play-by-play announcer Mark Jones (a native of Toronto) punctuated the punishment going into a commercial break by pronouncing the city as “LeBronto.” This honestly felt like a personal attack at the time but I have to admit it is an iconic call by a great announcer.
This game was now officially stamped as the "LeBronto" game and of course the Cavaliers would win, the final score 128-110. The national sports media and critics were not only praising LeBron’s scoring display but also annihilating the Raptors inability to win when it mattered most. To say the life had been sucked out of the fans was an understatement. The only ray of sunshine was knowing there were still 2 games remaining and if Toronto could steal one in Cleveland, they might be able to regain some confidence and momentum. All things considered, this loss stung because the Raptors played well enough to win, but LeBron was simply superhuman and single-handedly kept Toronto at bay.
#2 - 2018 – Game 3, Conference Semi-Finals @ Cleveland Cavaliers - Box Score
Down 2-0 on the road in a hostile Cleveland environment, the Raptors show up to Game 3 with focus and determination, and it seems like Dwane Casey and company know the right buttons to push. Losing Game 2 in the fashion they did was tough but the Raptors were certainly known for making adjustments and bouncing back. There is still hope that this iteration of the 2018 Raptors will pull off some heroics to climb back into the series.
The Raptors are playing hard but LeBron and the Cavs are ready for the fight, holding the lead and go into halftime up by 15. The Raptors continue to keep things within striking distance in the 3rd quarter, but are still down 14 going into the 4th quarter. DeRozan has been pretty terrible through 3 quarters (8 points on 3-12 shooting, -23 at this point), and Casey decides to bench the Raptors’ leading scorer in a move that actually benefitted Toronto. The Raptors make a spirited comeback in the most important quarter of the season, led by the tireless efforts of Kyle Lowry (15 points in the 4th) and, surprisingly, rookie OG Anunoby, who finishes with 18 in the game and contributes 11 in the 4th quarter with three 3-pointers!
For all the baskets Toronto are making to stay afloat, LeBron seems to match them with an array of daggers, just enough to maintain a small lead despite the Raptors’ onslaught. With 8 seconds left, Anunoby pump-fakes Jeff Green out of his shoes and drills a wing triple to tie the game. Cavs fans can’t believe it; it seemed like LeBron had stepped on their necks already! To that point, the Raptors had won the fourth quarter 38-23 and a reasonable amount of uncertain tension is hanging over the Cavs’ fans.
After a Cavs timeout, the Raptors appear to line up for a trap on LeBron, flanking him with Anunoby and Siakam. LeBron even cuts deep into the left corner to catch the inbound pass, but Siakam quickly clears out for some reason and LeBron now has an open floor, one-on-one with OG Anunoby, a relative child in the Pacific Ocean to LeBron’s Great White Shark.
Let’s take a minute to dissect what is happening here; arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time is handling the basketball with the game in the balance, and the very best strategy the Raptors can come up with is singe coverage by a rookie. Something seems wrong here? LeBron flies down the court virtually unimpeded, veering to his left as he crosses the three-point line. With about 1.5 seconds left, with Anunoby not nearly close enough to contest the shot, LeBron chucks up a floating runner while still heading away from the basket and banks in the game-winner.
……………………………………………………………… Are you kidding me? It seems that the only person who still had any hope at this point was Lowry, who just after the shot is trying to argue for time to be put back on the clock. The rest of the team is absolutely gutted; the bench reaction is brutal. Standing side-by-side, Powell and Valanciunas appear to be in actual pain. The high of Anunoby making the game-tying shot, only to be vanquished by the low of LeBron’s game winner was an emotional roller coaster that I would not wish on my worst enemy.
The shot pretty much sealed the deal for the series. Winning 4 straight against an opponent of LeBron James’calibre would be unheard of, and you could definitely imagine the Raptors’ collective confidence was completely destroyed after this one. Masai Ujiri was apparently livid after the loss, and rightfully so. Why didn’t the Raptors at least try to take the ball out of LeBron’s hands? 1000 times out of 1000 you would rather literally anyone else to shoot or make a play in this situation. Dwane Casey later admitted they did want to trap LeBron but for some strange reason this wasn’t hammered into the players’ heads enough.
#1 - 2001 – Game 7, Conference Semi-Finals @ Philadelphia - Box Score
The year is 2001 and the Raptors are becoming a success story after a few hard years as an expansion team starting in 1995. Vince Carter is arguably the most exciting player in the league and the Raptors have built a solid supporting cast around their young superstar. After dispatching of the Knicks in the first round in satisfying fashion, the top-seeded 76ers awaited in the Semi-Finals, led by soon-to-crowned MVP Allen Iverson. It was an epic back-and-forth series, especially with Carter and Iverson exchanging 40 and 50 point games, culminating in Game 7 in Philadelphia.
Game 7 just happened to fall on the same day the University of North Carolina's graduation ceremony. UNC Alum Vince Carter didn't want to miss out on the chance to celebrate this with family and fellow classmates. Vince decided to attend the graduation, then fly back to Philadelphia in time for the game. As you could imagine, some players resented the fact that Carter was putting himself above the team.
The Raptors trailed most of the first half, before closing the gap and keeping pace thru most of the second half in a nail-biting contest. Vince would end up shooting 6 for 18 from the field, though he did have 9 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks in a fairly solid all-around performance. The game came down to the wire, with the 76ers leading 88-87 and the ball in Toronto's hands. A last-second VC jumper from the wing was off by inches and just like that the 2001 Raptors were eliminated from playoff contention.
This game felt like the one that got away for many reasons; Game 7’s are notoriously unpredictable, tending to be slower paced, less fouls called and maximum effort on both ends. The 76ers had a formidable group but VC and the Raptors definitely held their own in this series and proved themselves to be a worthy adversary. It was conceivable at the time that the Raptors could steal this game on the road and move on to the Conference Finals. It was inconceivable at the time that this would be the peak of the franchise for the next 15 years, until the Raptors took LeBron and the Cavs to six games in the 2016 Conference Finals.
It's debatable that the ceremony had a major impact on Carter's performance, but it’s unquestionable that Carter’s selfishness did not sit well with fans and teammates. The combination of the graduation controversy, Carter’s subpar overall performance and the missed potential-series-winner definitely sent the public opinion of “Half-Man, Half-Amazing” in a much different direction. Carter would not lead the Raptors to anything else of note after this series; blame for this cannot solely be placed on Vince for this and there is a strong argument to be made that he was never provided a decent supporting cast, but Carter’s admitted lack of effort was fairly obvious and tough to cheer for.
Time has, for the most part, healed the wounds; Carter’s actions have been forgiven (though not forgotten) and purple “Carter – 15” jerseys have gone from fire kindling to likely retired (eventually) in Toronto. He was a phenomenal athlete and iconic ambassador for early Canadian basketball, filling countless living rooms with sky-scraping dunk after dunk and steering Toronto on to the global stage. We wanted Carter to be the guy to lead Toronto to the promise land, and once he was gone there was such a monumental void left behind that it was almost filled with anger by default. Carter’s choices and performance in Game 7 were the first domino in an unfortunate divorce.
10 - Golden State comes back from a 27-point deficit to win by 10.
9 – Orlando’s DJ Augustin drills a triple to win Game 1 of the 2018 first-round series
8- In an absolutely crucial late-season game jockeying for the final playoff spot, Chris Bosh misses a potential game winning layup against Golden State.
7 – Vince Carter alley-oop dunks for the OT victory in Toronto.
6 - The Cavs complete the sweep and embarrass the top-seeded Raptors 128-93.
5 - The Raptors miss all sorts of shots in the clutch, dropping Game 1 in the 2018 ECSF in Overtime.
4 - Washington’s Paul Pierce nails a dagger triple in Game 3 of the 2015 ECSF series, leading to a Wizards victory and a 3-0 series lead.
3 - LeBron turns into a fade-away machine, leading to a 128-110 Game 2 victory in the 2018 ECSF.
2 - LeBron banks in the game winner in Game 3 of the 2018 ECSF to take a commanding 3-0 series lead.
1 - Vince Carter misses the potential series winner at the buzzer against Philadelphia in the 2001 ECSF.
submitted by RaisedOnSwirsky
Co-op Commander Concept: Selendis
As usual, suggestions and feedback are welcomed.
[edited with both briefings and details, should be much easier to read] COMMANDER INTRO
The Golden Armada Returns A bit higher shields and equal damage split to ease the control of Airtoss units. A mechanic is implemented to restrict the quantity of the fleet. Warp in units has a chance to be its elite version.
- A relatively easy commander that is hard on its “heavy-decision making” aspect.
- Requires average skill to pull off, yet veteran players have ways to unleash the full potential of the commander.
Void Corruption Core mechanics- occur when air units are attacking and receiving damage. Corruption alters the unit into a completely different unit. Several methods can be used to delay and cleanse corruption.
- Selendis’s air units have slightly higher shields than their counterparts.
- Special shields and hull design leads to all air units equally split all damage taken to one another, rather than single-handedly receives it.
- We have decided not to implement unit tax to the fleet but it is strongly advised you don’t warp in too much- you will see what would happen if you do that from another section below.
- All air units have access to warp to another location of a power field.
- Warping in Golden Armada units has a chance to get an elite version of the unit.
- Though the pilots remain intact by separated their nerve cords, the ships that are deployed by the fleet would not be that fortunate. As they continuously exposed to void energy, some disturbing changes might occur throughout the battle.
- Void Corruption occurs when the player deploys far too many Golden Armada units at a time.
- All air units will begin to accumulate void energies each time they are attacking and receiving damage, leading to Void Corruption.
- Void Corruption changes the unit completely for a long time, which results in bringing advantages and disadvantages to the player.
- Void Corruption also delays the affected unit from receiving commands.
- There are ways to avoid Void Corruption.
Optimizing your assault.
The aura from Selendis’s permanent heroic Mothership unit - the Retribution.
A structure that takes a long time to be warped in. This structure is also available to be deployed from the top-bar, which instantly warp in the said structure.
An upgrade that can be researched before reaching mid-game.
The Glorious Battle is Upon Us Selendis ground units take similar design as Stukov’s infantries. Uses the Warp Platform to control the quantity and power level of these units, a total of 5 as maximum. Warp Platform does not need to build as a structure, it is an indicator from the top-bar. Uses Warp Conduit to deploy these units, as this can boost the aspect of the commander, and enrich the gameplay. Pylon Recharge WP —> WP gather armies —> WC deploy units gathered from WP
- After the duration has ended, the player can also use these methods to cleanse the corruption, returning the affected units into their original form.
- In addition to the Golden Armada, Selendis can also be assisted by her fearless Templar.
- Templar can only be warped in from the Warp Conduit, which will be randomly generated throughout the entire map.
- Depends on the map, the numbers of Warp Conduit available will be altered.
- Warp Conduit does not have a spawn timer like Zeratul’s artifact. This means you can choose to liberate them from Amon’s grasp if you have the capability to do so. However, extra forces are deployed from the enemy to safeguard the conduit, and it varies with how much conduit the player has liberated.
- By using one friendly unit to Interact with the beacon of the conduit for a couple of seconds liberates the Warp Conduit.
- Beacon of the conduit appears when at least 50% of the defense force has been eliminated.
- Templar has a maximum unit count determine by 5 Warp Platform- a structure you can see in the first cinematic of the LoTV campaign.
- The status of Warp Platforms is shown from the top-bar manual, similar to Tychus’s Medivac but bigger.
- In order to have the Warp Conduit warping in reinforcements, the player must construct additional Pylons to provide a power source to each Platform.
- Gaining power from Pylons allows the Warp Platform to gather warriors on it so that the player can warp them into the battle.
- More Pylons can be used to improves the Warp Platform-
Each power level allows the Warp Platform to gather more warriors.
Each power level increases the duration of the Templar warriors.
Each power level grants warriors one of their passive.
The Retribution Selendis’s permanent heroic Mothership. Veteran players will have ways to gain the hero much earlier. Two modes- Active Unit and Map-wide Top-bar Provider.
- Warp Platform has 3 power levels. The power level of the Platform returns to 0 after deploying units from it.
- Templar is units with limited life timer, similar to Stukov’s infantries.
- The player can select which comps will be deployed from the top-bar manual.
- Unlike most of the heroic units, this unit takes longer to become available from the beginning [(For example, takes 6 minutes to become available)This is merely just an example]. Yet, the player has a chance to gain it much earlier by reclaiming a Warp Conduit.
- The revive timer of this heroic unit remains as short as most of the heroic unit.
- This unit has an aura that can reduce Void Corruption of nearby Golden Armada units and cleanse the Corruption after its duration ended.
- Planet Cracker is an ability with a long cooldown that Scorch the ground beneath the Mothership, causing damage to enemy units below.
- Khaydarin Barrier is an ability with an acceptable cooldown that grants all friendly units nearby a damage immunity for a short time.
- The Retribution can Ascend to orbit and spread its influence throughout the entire map.
- The Retribution can not attack nor be attacked during Ascend.
- The Retribution gains new sets of abilities during Ascend.
Time Wave unleash energy on an area and gradually expand itself in a large radius. Enemy projectiles inside the effect zone will have a 50% longer travel speed. When the zone expands to its maximum, it explodes, applying a movement and attack speed decrease to all enemies inside it. The larger the zone, the less efficient and shorter duration to the effect.
[Void-corrupted unit make contact with the zone will result in an immediate explosion]
Psionic Infusion restore a friendly unit’s vitals and energy to full after a short delay.
- All abilities from the Retribution consumes energy. The Retribution does not restore energy naturally and can only be recharged near some of the structures.
Selendis is a macro commander who requires less micro to reach acceptable performance but demands more decision-making from the player.
The main component of her army- the Golden Armada are units which have fewer abilities when comparing to units in Co-op from other commanders. They are, to some degree, a-moveable just like their counterparts from the ladder (excluding all human-involved elements). But because of the existence of the “Void Corruption” mechanic, the player must always pay full attention to the units and try to avoid engaging in unnecessary fights as much as possible.
Stukov’s infantries, on paper, provide excellent synergies to its mech infested unit as they can work as a distraction, meat shields, and sustain damage provider. Selendis’s Templar, on the other hand, can still fit-in such a role in ideal situations. Yet, it is advised to use them primarily during the absence of the great fleet, delay the void corruption from occurring.
Selendis’s heroic Mothership- the Retribution is a new type of hero which function as an active support unit and top-bar ability provider with a “can’t have them both” fashion. In order to make good use of it, understanding each of its abilities and strategically switching between each version will be a crucial aspect of how to play this commander.
Lastly, Selendis can perform fine with the original method of saturating resources but can become even better with her special ways of gathering resources by utilizing Phase-smiths. If you can handle your army and the econ at the same time, be sure to do so as the delayed but instant-more minerals and vespene income will mostly bring more advantages than drawbacks, since how the Protoss air comps are usually built. DESIGN PHILOSOPHY "Basically how to make F2A playstyle more appealing to both average and veteran players." Why Void Corruption
- The theme of Golden Armada restrict the option of tweaking the quantity and quality of the army, and to imply more micro-interactions to enrich the playstyle.
- A way to make F2A become more strategic.
- Corrupted units are altered into different units, which can compensate for the lack of variety of Selendis’s army.
TOP-BAR ABILITIES Warp In Suppression Obelisk
- To be frank, Golden Armada on mission “Salvation” did not just come up with air units.
- Ground units should be crucial to a commander that only has air units as its primary army, given by no-AA enemies will ignore them and cause potential problems to the player.
- Boost up the commander’s feature- decision-making, also work as a safeguard of the Void Corruption mechanic.
- Deploys a Suppression Obelisk at the target location. All units inside the radius of the Suppression Obelisk’s power field accumulate less void energy and can be cleansed if corrupted.
Decide which composition the Warp Conduit
can be deployed. When this ability is on cooldown, replaced with Redirecting Assault Line
[I really have no idea of how to name these comps]
About these Templar units
Zealot The Golden Armada Descends
>! WP Lvl 1 Faster attack rate.!<
WP Lvl 2 Attack a few enemies on its path when using Charge.
>! WP Lvl 1 Attack can be improved for three times when attacking the same target.!<
WP Lvl 2 Attack faster, can pierce through enemies but deals less damage when having shields.
>! All abilities can be set to auto-cast.!<
WP Lvl 1 Shield Recharge has a cooldown on each target every 5 seconds, restore 30 shields per 8 energy, recharge does not consume energy when the target has no shields.
WP Lvl 2 Guardian Shield reduces incoming ranged damage to friendly units by 15%. The shield has a significantly shorter radius but can also function as a force field to push back enemies.
>! Fewer shields, more health than its counterpart.!<
WP Lvl 1 Damage dealt to health increases maximum shield points, to a maximum of 100%.
WP Lvl 2 Switching target increases attack speed by 10%, to a maximum of 60%. This effect decays after 2.5 seconds if the Dragoon does not switch targets.
>! WP Lvl 1 Has a 15% chance to immediately attack its target with each attack, regardless of cooldown. Has a high chance to tear open a wormhole and warp in one random unit on the Warp Platform, have it attack its target for once with each attack.!<
WP Lvl 2 If composition consist of Avenger is selected by the player, the level of the Warp Platform will always remain in 1 after deploying warriors from it.
>! WP Lvl 1 Phase Shift grants this unit immunity to damage and higher ability cast range through the duration.!<
WP Lvl 2 Phasma Surge can be applied to this unit after casting abilities. This effect grants the unit shield regeneration during combat and a damage aura.
>! WP Lvl 1 Bonus damage against massive units.!<
WP Lvl 2 Has a 45% chance to not take damage from projectiles when its shield is up.
>! WP Lvl 1 Scarabs take longer to detonate but can remain as a projectile and reselect target if the origin died too early.!<
WP Lvl 2 Has an auto-cast ability to launch all Scarabs at once.
>! WP Lvl 1 Armed with anti-air weaponry, in addition to the Thermal Lances.!<
WP Lvl 2 Attack speed increases depending on how much damage the unit is taking per second. Attack has a low chance to trigger Solar Flare, damage enemies within it in a circular area.
THE GOLDEN ARMADA Scout
- Warp all available air units from Selendis’s current army and have them bombard enemies from orbit in the target area. All ships will descend back to the end of the target area once the duration of this ability has ended.
- Anti-Matter Missile can attack ground units.
- An auto-cast-available ability Photonics Barrage has been used to replace Photon Blaster.
- Photonics Barrage damage all air units in a straight line around the target. Each attributes from the target increase the damage of this ability.
Corrupted Warp Ray
Anti-Matter Missile also deals 15% damage to all enemies on its path.
Photonics Barrage becomes a weapon with lower cooldown instead of ability during corrupted.
Every friendly air unit within a 3.5 range radius increase all damage dealt to corrupted Scout by 50%. Every Scout within a 2 range radius to the corrupted Scout increases all damage dealt to it by 20%, to a maximum of 100%.
- Attacks stun its target for 0.5 seconds every 5 seconds. When the target is freed from the stun effect, it will be warp to a location that is 2 range more between it and the Warp Ray.
- As the Warp Ray charge up (similar to the Void Ray’s Prismatic Alignment) to further stages, the duration of the stun effect and the warp range after the effect ended will be increased.
Attack no longer stun the target but apply a gradual damage effect to it.
After the effect ended, the target will be pulled closer to the Warp Ray instead of further.
Corrupted Warp Ray receives movement speed decrease, and affected by an effect that makes the enemy’s spell (for example Parasitic Bomb) deals more damage to it, plus ignoring shield points.
- Glorify is an ability that can be used to grant all friendly units on an area higher movement and attack speed for a short time.
- Mass Capacitor grants additional shield armor to friendly units nearby.
- Reveal reveals enemy cloaked and burrowed units in the target area, and makes enemies within it to provide vision to both commanders for 30 seconds.
Corrupted Arbiter gradually take damage over time.
During Void Corruption, Mass Capacitor grants friendly air units a damage aura, which can still be functioned when using The Golden Armada Descends.
Corrupted Arbiter shrouds its allies into the void for a few seconds when using active abilities. However, the Arbiter will remain visible to the enemies thus very likely to be exposed to a lot of damage.
The more damage the corrupted Arbiter received, the more powerful the damage aura granted by Mass Capacitor becomes.
Arbiter’s abilities have longer cooldown during Void Corruption.
- While in combat, provide shield regeneration to all friendly units nearby. The amount of shield regenerate per second is equal to how many shield points a unit can regenerate when out of combat.
- Basic attack applies Disintegration to its target, dealing 100 damage over 10 seconds to it.
- Disintegration Blast allows Tempest to attack all enemies on an area at once after a few seconds of channeling. This ability also doubles the shield regeneration it provides to friendly units nearby during the duration of the ability.
Basic attack deal more damage, while require longer to charge up and having significantly lower attack range.
Energy (the projectile) remains for a short time after firing from the Tempest, deals little damage to all enemies around it.
At the cost of draining shields from the friendly unit that has the highest shield points, corrupted Tempest’s basic attack and the projectile it launched gradually deals increasing damage.
- Interceptors attack 3 times rather than 2, due to its unique design.
- For this variation of Carrier, one of its Interceptors will always be ordered to perform scans on visible enemies every 3 seconds after being launched from out of the Carrier.
Friendly units that are near the Interceptors when it is channeling the scan deals more damage to scanned enemies for a short time. PROGRESSION Redemption
Specifically, when recalling Interceptors, having the last one to perform the scan will improve the effect, and result in having a longer duration.
The duration of the Void Corruption can be halved when a corrupted Carrier’s shield is completely depleted.
Interceptors do not require channeling to perform the scan and can cast this ability during attacking.
Interceptors attack its target with Demise (a beam attack), which works similarly to the one of Colossus.
Carrier, in particular, have a shorter duration from being affected by the Void Corruption.
Corrupted Carrier adds additional time to the duration of Void Corruption but also decreases the maximum duration of it simultaneously with each interceptor built during the corruption.
If fail to cleanse the corruption before its duration ends, corrupted Carrier will be destroyed, turning itself into a Void catalyst, which can be used for the player to trigger Void Corruption.
- Selendis has a 130 supply maximum, her air units have higher shields, takes a shorter time to warp in, but have a risk to submit to the corruption from the void during the battle, altering them. Warp in air units has a chance to gain the elite version of the unit. Templar units do not consume supply.
- Reduce the time of Suppression Obelisk requires to be warped in from Probes by 30%.
Forge Upgrade Cache
- Allows Nexus to warp in Phase-smith. Phase-smith can accelerate the warp speed of all structures near it and improve Photon Cannon. Specifically, Phase-smith can be stationed inside a Nexus to optimize the gathering process.
- Unlocks the following upgrades at the Forge:
Increases the duration of Phase-smith’s High-efficient Operation. The Golden Armada Descend
Alter Photon Cannon into Phase Cannon. Phase Cannon can be disabled to warp onboard the Retribution and provide additional armaments for it during Ascend.
The Nexus’s Photon Overload now leaves behind unstable energy that attacks once for 200% of its weapon damage.
Grant Pylons an additional charge of Recharge.
The Last Archive
- Warp all available air units from Selendis’s current army and have them bombard enemies from orbit in the target area. All ships will descend back to the end of the target area once the bombardment has ended.
- Unlocks The Last Archive for Probes to warp in. This structure holds valuable upgrades that can be used to counter or perfected void corruption.
- Granted the Warp Conduit these following passives:
When no Warp Conduit is liberated, each Warp Conduit cyclically reveals enemies on it for 5 seconds every 5 seconds. The Retribution Is At Hand
Enemies on Warp Conduit take 15% more damage.
Warp-in Reinforcement cooldown reduced by 30%.
- Unlocks the following upgrades at The Armada Beacon:
The Retribution can reveal the whole map for 15 seconds upon Ascend. From a Fruitful Relationship
A new ability which allows the Retribution to cloak all friendly units around the map and makes them become undetectable to enemies detector for the first 5 seconds. This ability consumes energy from the Retribution.
Increases the maximum capacity of Onboard Phase Cannon from 5 to 10.
The Retribution can restore 1 energy per second while Ascend.
- Scouts and Arbiter can now be altered from the design of Corsair and Oracle respectively.
The Great Fleet Become Whole Once More
- An Armada-link Spire will now be warped in at the start of the mission. This structure allows you to assemble your own compositions for Rearrange Reinforcements.
- Increases Selendis maximum supply from 130 to 250.
- Also, unlocks the following upgrades at the Fleet Beacon.
Scout’s Anti-Matter Missile can attack two ground enemies at once. The Invasion Fleet Stands Ready
Increases the movement speed of Warp Ray to 4.65 and acceleration to 3.76.
Arbiter’s Glorify and Mass Capacitor also affects the Arbiter when cast.
Increases Tempests’ attack range and ability cast range by 12, to a total of 22 range.
Carrier requires 30% more minerals to build Interceptors. Instead of launching Interceptors, Interceptors warp themselves directly to the target location when receiving commands. Increased Interceptors warp range from 8 to 10.
- Warp Platform can now be empowered by Pylons to achieve level 3 power level, granting Templar units these following upgrades:
To compensate for the long cooldown of Charge, Zealot can also use Engage to intercept its target. Zealot’s attacks ignore shields.
Adepts gain attack speed increased with each attack, to a maximum of 50%. This effect can be increased by 100% when Adepts are either below the Retribution, near Selendis, or the Retribution is currently Ascend.
Sentries can use Hallunication to produce false copies of units, absorb damage for its allies.
Gain Particle Disruptors as an additional weapon that will attack another target. Dragoon will be revived into an Immortal after a 5 seconds delay once they received fatal damage.
Upon taking fatal damage, the Avenger teleports to a random Warp Conduit and recovers to full shields and health. Requires a liberated Warp Conduit to activate.
Both Feedback and Psionic Storm can produce similar effects of the other, but in a different way.
Immortal’s Barrier can apply the same effect to all friendly units nearby in a small radius surrounding the Immortal.
Scarabs explosion deals splash damage to enemies in a line after a short delay.
Dual Thermal Lances allows Colossus to sweep an additional linear area 2 range after the origin.
Be Pure From The Stars
- Warping in reinforcements from a Warp Conduit also deploys a Probe which will automatically warp in a Pylon for free.
- The Golden Armada Desencd can reduce void energies that are being accumulated. The ability can also be used to cleanse void corruption.
En Taro Selendis
- Void Corruption now affects the Retribution, which can create opportunities for Selendis from either losing the battle or triumph in it.
- From now on, either Selendis or the Retribution will be deployed onto the battlefield at the exact location of the other when it received fatal damage. The destroyed unit still requires one minute to be revived from the Nexus.
Swift Vengence allows the unit to perform its basic attack on all enemies in its path when charging, and has a low chance to stun them for 2 seconds. Selendis also has a chance to deal higher damage to the target after using this ability.
Can use Resurgence. This ability can only be recharged each time Selendis has been deployed on the field.
Force of Will grant this unit a higher shield regeneration rate and health regen, it also allows Selendis to assemble warriors warped from Warp Conduit when they killed enemies equals to double the amount of their supply cost, turning them into permanent units as long as Selendis is on the field.
Templar units near Selendis are more zealous and unwilling to give up after receiving fatal damage, which makes them triggers their ability or attack for once if not possessing any ability upon dying.
Attacks ignore shields.
- Warp Conduit as the first commander structure that is randomly generated throughout the map, are built underneath the ground as a precaution to avoid blocking. Therefore it can be anywhere across the map if the area is large enough.
- If possible, try to retake a Warp Conduit before reaching 2/3 of the early-game. As the Retribution and Selendis as a hero can be as powerful as or even, exceeds some of the excellent early-game units like Abathur’s Ultimate Evolutions.
- Given by the Suppression Obelisks from the top-bar has limited charges, it is best to send out Probes to warp in more as the fight goes on.
- Phase-smith’s High-efficient Operation might not always be the best option to saturate resources, as it creates a gap period in your economy, which can bring devastating impact when forced to trade units in fights.
- Without the upgrade, Ascend from the Retribution does not favor the player in the long term due to its energy cost. Be sure to use it only when is needed.
- The Golden Armada Descend can be used for mobility purposes. Be sure not to use them only in attacking.
- Try to disable the auto-cast of some unit’s abilities as it will be more efficient when casting manually.
submitted by Weak-Sentence