And on that latter point, there is this: as much as it is starting to feel like the roof has utterly caved in on the Raptors - who have lost five of eight since March 16, including two to the Cavaliers, entering Wednesday's showdown with Boston - it also remains that even if this present swoon had never occurred, there were going to be doubts about this team.
"Obviously these guys are well into the driver's seat on the one (seed)", Boston coach Brad Stevens said. He's not quick. He's not fast.
Victor of the first road game would be anyone's guess. "If you can play, play". "It depends what the defense gives you". This streak is putting a lot of pressure on Cleveland, and might even earn the 76ers the 3-seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
He led the league in free throw percentage (.981) in 2008-09 and in 3-point percentage (.461) in 2012-13, when he also played with Detroit. "He's the kind of guy you love to coach". The Cavaliers shot lights out from the three-point line hitting 5-8 from beyond the arc, thanks in large part to Kevin Love who found his groove hitting 3-4 from downtown himself.
Terry Rozier started for Boston after sitting out Tuesday because of a sprained left ankle.
Toronto is infamous for shrinking in the postseason. Since December 2014, the Cavs are 17-6 vs. the Raptors.
"We don't know what we can become", James said.
But the story here was the 36-year-old Calderon - who was supposed to be one of those Cavs who barely play - running Lowry off the court. The Cavaliers won the most recent matchup 132-129, covering as 2-point underdogs.
"It was really unfortunate", Drew said. Instead, they came apart in the fourth quarter, falling 110-99, and what would have been a 4.0 game lead atop the conference is now just 2.0 games.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 19 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 17 and Serge Ibaka 16 for the Raptors. You just play as well as you can. "He's a great player". "I just missed shots".
The best evidence that the Raptors underperformed came from their own management, which kept the core intact but blew everything else up, including the team's style of play. The Celtics had more turnovers in the first half (14) than made baskets (13). "They scored 79 points in the first half against us the last time, so we knew we had to bring the defense from the beginning".
DeRozan had eight points and Lowry four in the third as the Raptors all-star backcourt continued to find its rhythm, helping build a 67-53 lead. LeBron James has been to seven straight finals in the National Basketball Association and so here is this massive, looming presence, one of the greatest players not only of his generation, but maybe that we've ever seen in the National Basketball Association and you've had to play through him in the East. "He was able to make shots and be cerebral".
Lesson No. 1: The Cavs are now 23-9 in games Jose Calderon starts.
"I'm feeling great", Calderon said.
DeRozan is the top scorer for Toronto with almost 24 points per game.