1995/96: It only seemed appropriate as Toronto hosted the first game in BAA history on November 1, 1946, as James Naismith the inventor of the game was a Canadian. The Toronto Huskies would lose that first game to the New York Knickerbockers 68-66. The Knicks would go on to be a cornerstone of the league that would soon become the NBA, but the Huskies would fold after just one season with a 15-45 record. The NBA would not return to Canada for nearly 50 years. When it did return it brought two expansion teams the one in Toronto would be called the Raptors trying to capitalize on the dino-mania after the release of “Jurassic Park”. The Raptors played their first game on November 3rd beating the New Jersey Nets 94-78 at SkyDome. Their would not be much success that first year as the Raptors finished last in the Central Division, with a record of 21-61, as they split two games against Canada’s other expansion team the Vancouver Grizzlies. However, the highlight of the season had to be their stunning win on March 24th when the beat the Chicago Bulls, who were in the middle of a record shattering 72-10 season, 109-108 at SkyDome. However, win or lose one player was always exciting as Damon Stoudamire won the Rookie of the Year with 19.0 pp and 9.3 apg.
1996/97: In their second season the Raptors experienced allot of highs and lows beating NBA elite teams like the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, and Houston Rockets who all made it to their Conference Finals while losing three times to the Boston Celtics who had an awful record of 15-67. Such inconstancy is the mark of a young team and the two top young stars on the Raptors were Damon Stoudamire who led the team with 20.22 ppg, while rookie Marcus Camby made the all-rookie team while averaging 14.7ppg and 6.3 rpg. However, despite all the promise the Raptors could not avoid last place as they posted a record of 30-52.
1997/98: After two seasons of optimism things fell apart for the Raptors. The troubles started early in the season with a slew of injuries to Popeye Jones, Marcus Camby, Carlos Rogers, Walt Williams and Zan Tabak, which led to an early 17-game losing streak, which buried the Raptors in the first part of the season. The struggles as well as an ownership change led Executive Vice President Isaiah Thomas, whom many considered the heart and soul of the organization, to severe his ties with the team. As the season wore on the Raptors even severed ties with their young budding star Damon Stoudamire as they traded him to the Portland Trailblazers along with Walt Williams and Carlos Rogers for Kenny Anderson, Gary Trent, Alvin Williams, a couple picks and cash, after Stoudamire indicated he would not re-sign following the season. The Raptors were not done trading yet, as they sent Anderson, Popeye Jones and Zan Tabak to the Boston Celtics for rookie Chauncey Billups, Dee Brown, Roy Rogers and John Thomas. With all the tumultuous changes it was not surprising that the Raptors struggled finishing in last place with a horrible record of 16-66.
1998/99: A year after taking talented high school star Tracy McGrady in the draft the Raptors select his cousin Vince Carter who was a star at UNC. However, Toronto fans would have to wait to see the talented cousins in action as a four month lockout delayed the start of the season. When the season started the Raptors new arena was almost ready, as they beat the Vancouver Grizzlies 102-87 in their first game at the Air Canada Centre on February 21st. After years of playing in the spacious SkyDome the Raptors finally had an arena built for basketball and they clearly benefited as they finally escaped last place by posting a record of 23-27. Leading the promising Raptors was Vince Carter who became the second Raptor in four years to win Rookie of the Year with 18.3 ppg. At season’s end Carter took the microphone and addressed the ACC crowd after the final game and guaranteed a trip to the post-season next year.
1999/00: With the off-season acquisition of Antonio Davis for a high draft pick, the Raptors not only got older, they got a whole lot better. As Davis along with Charles Oakley who was acquired a year earlier provided veteran stability to a young talented team. The veteran presence helped make Vince Carter into an All-Star as he received the second most amount of all star votes ever while stealing the show in the Slam Dunk Contest which he won easily. Carter would go on to average a team high 25.7 ppg while his cousin Tracy McGrady finished second with 15.4 ppg, as the Raptors fulfilled Vince Carter’s guarantee with a 45-37 record. However, in the playoffs the inexperienced Raptors would be schooled by the playoff tested New York Knicks losing in three straight games. Following the season, the Raptors would be jilted by Tracy McGrady, who decided to seek his own fame, out of his cousin’s shadow by signing with the Orlando Magic.
2000/01: After their first playoff appearance the Raptors decided to go after a Hall of Fame coach, to lead the team to the next step as the hired al-time winingest Coach Lenny Wilkins. Vince Carter continued to establish himself as the next big star in the NBA by leading the Raptors with an impressive 27.6 pp, after exhibiting show-stopping dunks in the Olympics with Team USA. With the continued improvement of Vince Carter the Raptors would finish in second place with a solid record of 47-35. In the playoffs the Raptors were matched up against the New York Knicks for the second year in a row. After splitting the first two games in New York the Raptors appeared to be heading for a disappointing exit again after they lost Game 3 at the ACC 97-89. However, the Raptors would send the series back to New York by winning Game 4 100-93. In the decisive fifth game in New York the Raptors would stun the Knicks 93-89 to advance to the second round. In the second round the Raptors were matched up against the top seed Philadelphia 76ers. However the Raptors would give the 76ers all they could handle as the battled tooth and nailed all the way to a seventh game where Vince Carter missed a buzzer beater with the Raptors down 88-87, which would have sent the Raptors on the Eastern Conference Finals.
2001/02: After experience success in the playoffs the Raptors were able to sign Vince Carter to a long-term multimillion-dollar deal to ensure their marquee stars for years to come. In addition the Raptors would add even more star power by acquiring future Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon from the Houston Rockets. The Raptors appeared to be heading for another strong season as they held a record of 29-21 entering the all-star break. However, in the final game before the break Vince Carter suffered a knee injury that would hamper their star for the rest of the season. In the second half the Raptors lost 18 of 19 games including, 13 straight games following the break. With all hopes of the playoff seemingly lost Vince Carter decided to undergo knee surgery. However, the Raptors would suddenly turn thing around as they won eight straight games without Vince Carter to get back into the playoff picture. The Raptors would do on to slip into the playoff as the seventh seed with a record of 42-40. In the playoffs the Raptors would get off to a shaky start as they dropped the first two games on the road to the Detroit Pistons. However, coming home the Raptors would rebound nicely winning two games at ACC to force a decisive fifth game. In Game 5 at Detroit the Raptors gave the Pistons all they could handle before losing 85-82.
2002/03: Things looked bleak for the Raptors early in the season as Hakeem Olajuwon announced his retirement following a disappointing first season in Toronto. In addition Vince Carter continued to feel the lingering effect of his knee injury as he missed most of the first half. However, some former teammates and NBA observes began to question Carter’s heart and desire and he didn’t seem to be a hurry to get back in the lineup. This view was even given further ammo when Carter was dancing on stage with Nelly as the Raptors, were getting blown out by the Hawks in Atlanta. The Raptors would have all hopes for the playoff buried in January as they held a record of 8-28, which included a 12-game losing streak. Vince Carter would return and play most of the second half, averaging 20.6 ppg, but the Raptors struggles continues as Coach Lenny Wilkins who already held the record for most career wins set the record for most career losses as a coach, while the Raptors finished in seventh place with a disappointing record of 24-58. Following the final game General Manager Glenn Grunwald apologized to the fans at ACC announcing changes would be made. He would get started right away by firing Coach Lenny Wilkins.
2003/04: With new Coach Kevin O’Neill the Raptors started the season on a high note beating the 2-time Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Nets 90-87. However a few days later they would set an embarrassing post shot clock record by scoring just 56 points in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. That kind of inconsistency would become the hallmark of the Raptors all season, at times they looked like genuine playoff contenders, while others they looked like a last place team. At 8-8 the Raptors pulled off a blockbuster deal with the Chicago Bulls on December 1st acquiring Jalen Rose, Donyell Marshall, and Lonny Baxter in exchange for Antonio Davis, Jerome Williams, and Chris Jefferies. The Raptors would win their first three games after the deal but won just 1 of 7 following the initially strong start as the Raptors continued through out the entire first half as they sat at 25-25 at the All Star Break. However after the all star break injuries would become a problem as the Raptors won just eight games the rest of the way finishing with a 33-49 record. Following the season the Raptors would fire Coach O’Neill choosing to go with Sam Mitchell.
2004/05: The Sam Mitchell era got off to a good start as the Raptors won four of their first five games. However the joy was short lived as the Raptors came back to earth fast, as a disgruntled Vince Carter continued to sulk, which hit rock bottom in a November 12th loss in Seattle as he told the Supersonics what play the team was going to run in the waning moments of an 88-87 loss. Through December the Raptors struggled badly winning just three of 15 games, as they finally gave up on Vince Carter as he was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Eric Williams, Aaron Williams, Alonzo Mourning, and two first-round draft picks. Mourning a future Hall of Famer refused to play for the Raptors and forced a buyout as he returned to the Miami Heat where he had his best years. Meanwhile the Raptors would go to finish tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with a 33-49 record, while Chris Bosh started to emerge as the new star of the Toronto with a solid 16.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg in just his second year.
2005/06: Under new Coach Sam Mitchell not much was expected from the Raptors who were clearly in a rebuilding mindset as they were still feeling the effects of the Vince Carter deal, in which they got nothing substantial in return, while many questioned their decision to draft Charlie Villanueva. When the season start the Raptors were struggling to match even their low expectations as they lost 15 of their first 16 games. In December the Raptors would show some improvement as they split 14 games as Chris Bosh put together an All-Star season leading the Raptors with 22.5 ppg. The Raptors would continue to play .500 ball in an up and down January that saw them set a franchise record for points in a game while a week later they were torched by Kobe Bryant for 81 points. January would also see changes in Management as General Manager Mike Babcock was fired and eventually replaced by Bryan Colangelo. The Raptors would close the season much as they begun losing 12 of their last 13, with Chris Bosh injured as they finished in fourth Place with a 27-55 record. The Raptors poor record would have one beneficial side effect as they won the top pick in the draft lottery which they used on Italian prodigy Andrea Bargnani, making him the first European drafted number one overall. While they would trade Charlie Villanueva, who would prove critics wrong by finishing second in Rookie of the Year Voting to the Milwaukee Bucks for play making Point Guard T.J. Ford.
2006/07: The new look Raptors would stumble out of the gate, losing eight of their first ten games, as they held a 13-18 record at the start of the New Year. Led by Chris Bosh, who would be named NBA player of the Month the Raptors would begin to come together in January as they posted a 10-5 record to get back to the .500 mark taking over the lead in the mediocre Atlantic Division. In February the Raptors would play even better as they climbed over .500, with Chris Bosh continuing his strong play as the Raptors won 9 out 12 games. The Raptors would hit a slight bump in the road in March as they three in a row and four out of five. However, showing the ability to bounce back proved that they were in fact a team as good as their record, as they closed the month winning four of five games, virtually locking up their first ever division championship. In April the Raptors would continue to play well wining six in a row to equal a franchise best 47 wins. However, with losses in their final two games the Raptors would only tie their all-time best record of 47-35. The division title would bring honors to the men responsible for the turnaround, as Sam Mitchell was named Coach of the Year, with General Manager Bryan Colangelo winning the Executive of the Year. In the playoffs the Raptors faced off against the New Jersey Nets featuring former Raptor Vince Carter. In Game 1 with the Air Canada a sea of red, Carter was lustfully booed by the Raptors fans. However, the Nets would draw first blood winning Game 1 by a score of 96-91. Led by Chris Bosh who scored 25 points, with 13 rebounds, the Raptors would bounce back evening the series with a solid 89-83 win. However, in New Jersey the young Raptors with a roster full of players making their first playoff appearance would struggle losing both games, as the Nets took a commanding 3-1 series lead. In Game 5 a record crowd at the Air Canada Centre helped the Raptors fight off elimination as they took control early and won 98-96, holding off a late charge from the Nets, as Jose Calderon had a career high 25 points with eight rebounds. However, the Raptors season would come to an end with a 98-97 loss in Game 6, as Richard Jefferson gave the Nets the lead with under ten seconds remaining.
2007/08: Coming off their first division championship, the Raptors looked to remaining a power in the Atlantic Division. However, with the vastly improved Boston Celtics getting off to a fast start, the chances of a repeat were all but gone before the end of December. Nonetheless the Raptors played well, as Chris Bosh continued to develop into a NBA superstar. In the second half the Raptors had to deal with their share of injuries, as T.J. Ford missed 31 games, while Bosh missed 15, as the Raptors hovered around .500. The Raptors would end up finishing a distant second behind the Celtics, posting a 41-41 record, which was good enough for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. After losing the opener to the Orlando Magic, the Raptors had a chance to win Game 2 on the road, as they took a 101-100 lead with 1:04 left in the game on back-to-back three pointers by Carlos Delfino and Jose Calderon. However, Hedo Turkoglu gave the Magic the lead, back with an acrobatic lay up and two clutch free throws. Down one, in the final seconds the Raptors had the ball in the hands of Chris Bosh who was unable to hit a game winning basket as the Raptors lost 104-103. The Raptors would win Game 3 at home, but after a loss in Game 4, their season was ended in five games, as the Raptors had no answer for Magic star Dwight Howard.
2008/09: Hoping to improve their frontcourt the Raptors acquired Jermaine O’Neal from the Indiana Pacers in a blockbuster draft day trade for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, Maceo Baston, and the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. However, in the early part of the season the deal was not working out as the Raptors stumbled out of the gate with a mediocre 8-8 record at the end of November. On December 2nd the Raptors would be embarrassed on the road by the Denver Nuggets 132-93, that loss would cost Coach Sam Mitchell his job, as he was fired two days later, and replaced on an interim basis by Jay Triano, the first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history. Things would not get any better under Triano, as the Raptors lost 11 of their next 13 games, heading into the New Year, with Jermaine O’Neal playing uninspired basketball. As January began the Raptors appeared to be on the way of getting back on track, as they won four of the first five games in 2009. However, a seven game losing streak quickly followed as the Raptors were quickly fading out of the playoff picture. Hoping to give the team a jump start at the trade deadline, the Raptors sent the disappointing Jermaine O’Neal to the Miami Heat in a deal that sent Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to Toronto in return. The Raptors would win six straight games just after the trade, but it was too late to save their season, as they ended up missing the playoffs with a disappointing record of 33-49, as they won their last three games to avoid 50 losses.
2009/10: Following their disappointing season the Raptors made several roster changes as Jason Kapono was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for the aggressive veteran forward Reggie Evans, while they signed Free Agent sharp shooter Hedo Turkoglu and Guard Jarret Jack. Meanwhile, with the ninth overall pick the Raptors selected DeMar DeRozan. The season would get off on a good note as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-91 in the season opener. However, after winning five of their first nine games the Raptors struggled as November turned into December, losing nine of their next 11 games. As 2009 began the Raptors began to show signs of improvement as they won five games in a row. After starting January with 103-96 loss to the Boston Celtics on the road, the Raptors went on to post a strong January climbing back over .500 by winning 10 of 16 games, highlighted by a five game winning streak that included a thrilling 106-105 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. At the All-Star Break the Raptors were in strong playoff position with a record of 29-23. However, after the break it would all begin to unravel for Toronto, as they would lose nine out of ten games as February turned into March. Both Free Agent signings Jarrett Jack and Hedo Turkoglu both struggled; while it appeared pending Free Agent Chris Bosh was focusing on signing elsewhere. However, despite the struggles the Raptors were still in playoff contention as they beat the Philadelphia 76ers 128-123 on overtime to hold a 38-37 record on April 3rd. The Raptors would follow that up with five straight losses, including a 104-88 home loss to the Chicago Bulls that all, but ended the Raptors playoff hopes. The Raptors would close the season with back-to-back wins, but missed the playoffs by one game with a record of 40-42. Following the season Chris Bosh would team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the Miami Heat.
2010/11: As Chris Bosh left to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat, the Raptors again found themselves starting from scratch as they did when they had lost Damon Stoudamire and Vince Carter who each had become the face on the franchise. Hoping to not fall off too badly, the Raptors drafted Ed Davis from North Carolina with the 13th overall pick hoping he could fill the shoes of Bosh. On the trade market the Raptors would pick up Leonardo Barbosa and Dwayne Jones from the Phoenix Suns for Hedo Turkoglu. After starting the season with a 98-93 loss to the New York Knicks, the Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 101-81 in a meeting of teams who had their heart and souls ripped out by the Heat, as they lost seven of their first eight games. The Raptors would continue to struggle in November as they David Anderson, Marcus Banks and Jarrett Jack to the New Orleans Hornets for Jerryd Bayless and Peja Stojakovic, along with cash considerations. Stojakovic would play in just two games with the Raptors as an injury sidelined him until January, when he was released. After entering the New Year with a record of 11-21, the Raptors plunged a deep freeze in January, winning just two games as they suffered a 13 game losing streak. On February 15th, the last game before the All-Star Break, the Raptors hosted the Miami Heat as Chris Bosh in his first game back in Toronto. Bosh was booed, but it did not near match the hostility when Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter made their returns, as fans seemed resigned to the reality of NBA basketball in Toronto, as the Heat won the game 103-95. Wins would continue to be few and far between for the Raptors, as they ended the season with a horrible record of 22-60. Following the season Coach Jay Triano would be replaced by Dwane Casey.
2011/12: The Raptors had yet another new coach as the lockout shortened season as they hired Dwane Casey who had been an assistant coach with the NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks. The Raptors season would get off to a positive start, as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in their season opener 104-96, as they were competitive in the first part of the season. However, an eight game losing streak in January all but ended their hopes of being in the playoff race. The Raptors would spend most of the season in last place, but managed to crawl out of the cellar by beating the New Jersey Nets 98-67 in the final game of the season, as they finished in fourth place with a record of 23-43. Despite another lackluster season, there were some good signs for the Raptors as Andrea Bargnani had another solid season, despite being limited to 31 games due to injury, while leading the team with 19.5 ppg.
2012/13: Hoping to take the next step in the rebuilding process, the Raptors attempted to sign Free Agent Steve Nash in the off-season. The two -time MVP is considered widely the greatest player in the NBA ever to come from Canada. Nash instead chose to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the Raptors were not sidetracked long as they instead acquired Kyle Lowry from the Houston Rockets for a future first round pick. Lowry had a solid debut for the Raptors; scoring 21 points with eight assists, as first round pick Jonas Valanciunas had ten boards. However the Raptors came up short, losing to the Indiana Pacers 90-88 at the Air Canada Centre. Lowry and Valanciuans along with DeMar DeRozan played well early in the season, but it did not have any result in the Raptors fortunes as they once again got off to a poor start as they held a 4-19 record in their first 23 games. The Raptors would begin to turn things around in late December, as they closed out 2012, by winning seven of eight games. However, they would not be able to carry over the success into the New Year, as they posted a 5-10 mark in January. As the month came to an end, the Raptors looked to make more changes, acquiring Rudy Gay from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three team deal that saw Jose Calderon go to the Detroit Pistons. The Raptors also picked up Hamed Haddadi in the deal, but quickly shipped him to the Phoenix Suns for Sebastian Telfair. Gay would get off to a strong start in Toronto, leading Toronto in scoring in his first five games in a Raptors uniform as they won six of eight games to begin February. However, again they could not maintain the momentum as they won just four games in March. With DeMar DeRozan having a big month, the Raptors would finish the season on a positive note, as they won their final five games and seven of nine as they finished the season with a record of 34-48. The Raptors would finish with a winning record at home for the first time in three years at 21-20. When the season was over Rudy Gay led the team in scoring with 19.5 ppg, while DeRozan was a close second averaging 18.1 ppg.
2013/14: It was a busy off-season for the Raptors as new General Manager Masai Ujiri looked to remake the roster. The biggest move came as the Raptors traded former number one pick Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks in exchange for Steve Novak, Marcus Camby and Quentin Richardson, along with a future first round draft pick, and two future second round draft picks. Bargnani never quite lived up to expectations after being selected by the Raptors first overall in the 2006 draft. Camby and Richardson would both be waived by Toronto as they signed free agents Tyler Hansbrough, D. J. Augustin, Dwight Buycks, and Austin Daye. The new look Raptors would open the season with a 93-87 win over the Boston Celtics. However, Ujiri was not finished with his team’s makeover. With the Raptors holding a record of 7-12 on December 9th, Rudy Gay the team’s top scorer in the first six weeks along with Quincy Acy, and Aaron Gray to the Sacramento Kings for John Salmons, Greivis Vásquez, Patrick Patterson, and Chuck Hayes. Despite their less than stellar record the Raptors were on top of the Atlantic Division, due to almost every other team in the East getting off to a poor start. However, this deal was just the spark Toronto needed as they shot over .500 by winning 10 of their next 13 games after the deal. The Raptors would hold the top spot in the Atlantic Division the remainder of the season, winning just the second division title in franchise history with a record of 48-34. Two players were key the Raptors success, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. DeRozan was an All-Star for the first time in his career thanks to a breakout season in which he averaged career-highs of 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Lowry meanwhile averaged 17.9 ppg with a team high 7.4 assists per game. Other Raptors who had fine seasons included Jonas Valanciunas, who averaged 11.3 points per game along with a team best 8.8 rebounds per game, while Patrick Peterson acquired in the Gay trade was the Raptors top man off the bench averaging 9.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
2014 Playoffs: As with their first division title in 2007, the Toronto Raptors faced the Nets in the first round. This time it was the Brooklyn Nets and the Raptors were considered an underdog despite being the third seed. Game 1 showed just way the Nets were favorites as Paul Pierce led the way to a 94-87 win. The Raptors came out much stronger in Game 2, as DeMar DeRozan scored a game high 30 points while Jonas Valanciunas had 14 boards to lead the way to a 100-95 win. Trailing by 15 points with less than five minutes in Brooklyn for Game 3, the Raptors mounted a furious comeback, but it fell just short as Patrick Peterson missed two free throws with a chance to tie the game, as the Nets held on to win 102-98. Game 4 would be an exact opposite, as the Nets erased a 17 point deficit to take a brief 79-78 lead. However, the Raptors would close the game on a 9-0 run to even the series with an 87-79 win. With Kyle Lowry scoring 36 points the Raptors again built a big lead in Game 5. Though late comebacks became the story of the series as the Nets nearly erased a 26 point deficit by scoring 44 points in the fourth quarter. The Raptors would hold on to win the game 115-113 as Andray Blatche’s errant pass led to a backcourt violation. Back in Brooklyn for Game 6, the Nets would again even the series with a 97-83 win. Game 7 in Toronto would see 20,457 fans on hand hoping to cheer the Raptors into the second round. Other than allowing 35 points in the second quarter the game was close throughout. With the Nets leading 104-103, the Raptors had the ball with a chance to win the game. However, Kyle Lowry’s potential game winner was rejected by Paul Pierce as the Nets went on to face the Miami Heat.
2014/15: After winning the Atlantic Division, the Toronto Raptors looked for an even better season, as they managed to keep Kyle Lowry by signing the potential free agent to a four year deal worth $48 million. Entering their 20th season the Raptors got off to the best start in franchise history, opening the season with a solid 109-102 win over the Atlanta Hawks, as they immediately climbed to the top of the Atlantic Division, by winning 13 of their first 15 games. The Raptors would never look back and remained in first place for the rest of the season. The Raptors strong start carried them all the way through December as they went into the New Year with a record of 24-8. The continued success was despite playing without DeMar DeRozan who missed six weeks with a thigh injury. The loss of DeRozan would catch up to Toronto in January, as they lost seven of ten to begin 2015. Though once their All-Star Shooting Guard returned, from a torn left adductor longus tendon the Raptors again started to win games, winning six in a row. The second half would be a struggle for the Raptors as Kyle Lowry fought through back spasm. Despite a 13-16 record after the All-Star Break, the Raptors easily won their second straight division title and had a franchise best record of 49-33. DeMar DeRozan was the Raptors top player, with a team high 20.1 points per game, while Kyle Lowry was their top play maker with 17.8 points and 6.8 assists per game. Joans Valanciunas was the Raptors Chairman of the boards with 8.7 rebounds per game and 12.0 points per game. Meanwhile, Lou Williams provided a spark off the bench scoring 15.5 points per game in 80 appearances with no starts to earn the distinction of the NBA’s best sixth man.
2015 Playoffs: In the playoffs the Raptors with the four seed would face the Washington Wizards. Game 1 would be a struggle for the Raptors as they combined for just 33 points in the middle two quarters. The Raptors would rally to force overtime, but were haunted by an old foe as Paul Pierce nailed a three pointer and scored five of his 20 points in the extra session to give the Wizards a 93-86 win. Looking to rebound in Game 2 the Raptors ran into a wall, as Kyle Lowry struggled, all game scoring just six points on 3-for-10 shooting. Meanwhile the Wizards led by John Wall’s 26 points and 17 assists won a second straight game at Air Canada Centre 117-106. Things did not get better in Washington, despite a 35 point outburst in the first quarter of Game 3. The Wizards matched the Raptors shot for shot and took a commanding 3-0 series lead, thanks to a 106-99 win. The Wizards would go on to sweep the disheartened Raptors, winning the finale 125-94.
2015/16: After a disappointing first round exit, the Toronto Raptors went on an off-season spending spree, signing free agents DeMarre Carroll, Cory Joseph, Bismack Biyombo, and Luis Scola to add much needed depth. Heading into an All-Star season the Raptors went through a makeover with a new logo and uniform. The Raptors got off to a strong start in their new duds, winning their first five games. The Raptors would have their ups and downs in the first two months as they went into the New Year holding a record of 20-13. After losing two of their first three games in January, the Raptors embarked on franchise best 11-game winning streak. The streak would end on February 1st with a 112-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets as they began a five-game road trip ahead of the All-Star Break. When All-Star weekend arrived, the Raptors were sitting right behind the Cleveland Cavaliers as the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference. DeMar DeRozan was chosen as a reserve and Kyle Lowry chosen to start in the All-Star Game played at Air Canada Centre. It was the first time the NBA All-Star Game was played outside of the United States. The game would be the highest scoring game in NBA history as the Western Conference scored a 196-173 win, as DeRozan scored 18 points, while Lowry had 14 for the East. On February 26th, the Raptors beat the Cavaliers 99-97 as Lowry scored 41 points to climb to two within in two games of the top spot in the East. Toronto would keep up the pressure on the Cavaliers as they reached the 50-win mark for the first time in franchise history with a 105-97 win over the Atlanta Hawks on March 30th. The Raptors would win six of eight games in April as they finished just one game behind the Cavs with a record of 56-26, while capturing the Atlantic Division championship for the third straight season. The Raptors All-Stars each had strong seasons with DeMar DeRozan posting a team best 23.5 points per game, while Kyle Lowry averaged 21.2 ppg, while leading the team with 6.4 assists per game. The Raptors leading rebounder was Jonas Valanciunas who averaged 9.1 boards per game.
2016 NBA Playoffs: The postseason began at Air Canada Centre with the Toronto Raptors hosting the Indiana Pacers. Game 1 would be a big disappointment for the home fans, as Paul George scored 39 points to lead the Pacers to a 100-90 win. The Raptors bounced back in Game 2 as Jonas Valanciunas led the way with 23 points and 15 rebounds to win the game 98-87. As the series shifted to Indiana, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan came alive each scoring 21 points as Toronto won 101-85. The Pacers would take Game 4 by a score of 100-83 to even the series. Back in Toronto for Game 5, the Raptors rallied from a down 13 in the fourth quarter, to win 102-99, outscoring Indiana 25-9 in the final 12 minutes as DeMar DeRozan had his best game of the series with a game high 34 points. The Pacers though continued to battle, winning 101-83 in Game 6 to force a seventh game. DeMar DeRozan would score 30 points, including two game clinching free throws in Game 7 as the Raptors held off a late rally from the Pacers to win 89-84. It was the first time the Raptors advanced in the playoffs since 2001. Facing the Miami Heat in the second round, Kyle Lowry hits a prayer three-point shot from half court to force overtime in the opener at Air Canada Centre. However, the Heat would rebound and win the game 102-96 as they outscored the Raptors 12-6 in OT. Game 2 would also go to overtime, this time the Raptors would walk off the court winners, outscoring Miami 10-6 to win the game 96-92 as DeMarre Carroll led the way with 21 points. As the series shifted to Miami, Kyle Lowry found his shot, scoring a game high 33 points as the Raptors won 95-91. The series remained close in Game 4, as overtime was needed again this time it would be the Heat winning 94-87 as the Raptors went ice cold in overtime, scoring just four points. Back in Toronto DeMar DeRozan was the high man with 34 points as the Raptors took control of the series with a 99-91 win. However, the Heat fought back again, winning 103-91 in Game 6 to force a seventh game. Game 7 at Air Canada Centre was close for three quarters, before the Raptors broke it open in the fourth outscoring Miami 30-11 to win the game 116-89 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. In the finale, it was Kyle Lowry leading the way with 35 points. The Toronto Raptors would take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, a team they beat in two of three regular season meetings. The first two games of the conference finals would not go Toronto’s way as the Cavaliers dominated winning 115-84 in Game 1 and 108-89 in Game 2. With their backs to the wall, the Raptors came out strong at Air Canada Centre in Game 3, beating the Cavaliers 99-84 as DeMar DeRozan had a game high 32 points while Bismack Biyombo had an incredible game with 26 rebounds. The Raptors would get 35 points from Kyle Lowry in Game 4 to even the series with 105-99 win. However, an ugly first quarter in Game 5 turned out to be the Raptors doom as the Cavs won 116-78 to regain control of the series. The Cavaliers would go on to win Game 6 at Air Canada Centre 113-87 to advance to the NBA Finals.
2016/17: After falling to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Toronto Raptors looked to take the next big step, knowing it was still a huge climb. To do so they must keep their star players, and thus re-signed DeMar DeRozan to a five –year deal worth $139 million was a big step for the Toronto franchise. Despite a disappointing loss to the Cavaliers in the second game of the season, the Raptors got off to a solid start, winning seven of their first nine games. After 30 games, the Raptors were right on track to return to the Eastern Conference Finals, holding a record of 22-8. As the New Year began, the Raptors went into a six-week slump, that saw them post a record of 10-24, losing their spot atop of the Atlantic Division. After the All-Star Break, the Raptors got back on track, as they closed February with a four-game winning streak and posted a 10-6 record in March. Helping to boost Toronto, was Serge Ibaka, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Orlando Magic for Terrance Ross. The Raptors would go on to finish the season with a record of 51-31, qualifying third in the Eastern Conference playoffs. DeMar DeRozan was Toronto’s top player, averaging 27.3 points per game. A major issue in the second half centered around Kyle Lowry who missed 18 games with a wrist injury.
2017 Playoffs: Facing the Milwaukee Bucks, things started poorly for the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, as they were beaten soundly 97-83 in Game 1 at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors would bounce back to take Game 2 by a score of 106-100, thanks to a solid game by DeMar DeRozan who had 23 points. Game 3 in Milwaukee would be another disaster for Toronto, as the Bucks won 104-77 as no Raptor scored more than 13 points. In Game 4, DeRozan came through again scoring 33 points, with nine rebounds and five assists as the Raptors again evened the series with an 87-76 win. Game 5 saw in Toronto saw Norman Powell who scored 25 points to lead the way in a 118-93 victory. The Raptors would go on to win the series in six games, winning the finale 92-89 behind a 32-point game by DeRozan. Facing the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round, the Toronto Raptors found themselves in a big hole early as they lost the first two games in Cleveland by scores of 116-105 and 125-103. Things did not get any better after the series moved to Toronto, as the Cavaliers scored a 115-94 victory in Game 3, despite DeMar DeRozan scoring a game-high 37 points. The Cavaliers would go on to complete the sweep with a 109-102 win in Game 4.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Toronto Raptors of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on February 13, 2003. Last updated on April 16, 2018 at 11:25 pm ET.