In their 21st season, the Raptors defeated the Miami Heat in Game 7 at the Air Canada Centre.
They move onto the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, and have removed their name from a short list of teams that have never made it to the Conference Finals. That list is now comprised of just three teams: the Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Los Angeles Clippers.
The Raptors are also just four wins from their first ever NBA Finals appearance, and eight from a championship. It’s anyone’s guess if this team is capable of making that kind of prolonged run, but one thing is for sure, they’ve exorcised plenty of demons already by making it this far.
It’s been 15 years since Vince Carter’s potential game-winning shot rang off the iron in Philadelphia, allowing the 76ers to reach the Conference Finals. Since then the Raptors have made the playoffs just six times, going 15-25, and failing to get past the first round… until this season.
There wasn’t a whole lot to cheer for if you were a Raptors fan of the past, until the unexpected rise of Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan in 2014 and their surge up the Eastern Conference ranks over the past three seasons.
However, after all the failures, disappointments, franchise-altering trades, and a handful of unfortunate draft picks, their success this season tastes all that much sweeter for Raps nation.
It also proves that your history is not an indication of what can happen in the future. Despite all the hardships and tough losses, there’s always the next season.
This is good news for TSSC members who have yet to get their hands on those prized championship shirts. It doesn’t matter how many playoff games you’ve come up short, or last-minute losses you’ve had, you can always make history.
The Raptors finally did it on Sunday after 20 seasons, so who knows, maybe this is the summer where you make history too.~Written by Guest Blogger, Evan Peaslee