When did the Raptors lose their cool?
It was a quiet night in Toronto.
It was early December, just after the Raptors had beaten the Atlanta Hawks, but the Raptors were already in the midst of their second straight loss, and they’d already lost five straight to New Orleans.
And they hadn’t been to a game this season without a player getting ejected.
Toronto had been through this before.
They’d come back from a 14-point second-half deficit against the Charlotte Hornets in December 2014, when Lowry had been suspended for a game after the incident involving Kevin Durant.
They came back from an 11-point deficit against Memphis in December 2015, when James Johnson had been ejected for the second time in his career.
And on January 5, they came back for the fourth time in six games against the Miami Heat.
Toronto hadn’t beaten Miami in eight meetings in 2016, and Miami had only beaten Toronto in seven games the previous year.
But then things started to go wrong.
They trailed by 16 points in the third quarter, and with 10:45 left in the first half, Lowry threw up a pass to DeMar DeRozan that was picked off by LeBron James, who had a dunk and dunk in the lane.
He was ejected in the fourth quarter, with the score tied at 76-75.
It seemed like the Raptors would have to play with their heads down and not make the playoffs.
Instead, they lost again, this time by 12 points in overtime.
“It’s not that we were bad,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said.
“We weren’t very good.
But the reality is, we made a mistake.”
They didn’t get that chance again.
The Raptors went on to lose five straight and lost in the conference finals to the Golden State Warriors, who were coming off a 104-100 loss at home.
They got to the conference semifinals, where they lost in five games to the Cavaliers.
After that loss, the Raptors went into the offseason and added a veteran guard in J.R. Smith, who would play two more seasons in the NBA.
But Lowry, the team’s leading scorer at 23.4 points per game, decided he was going to retire.
He decided that the best thing to do was to retire and start a new life in the United States, and the Raptors chose to do just that.
Lowry was in the process of being drafted by the New York Knicks at the time.
Toronto has had a good run of recent years.
They finished the 2015-16 season 10-4, with a record of 13-5 and a first-round playoff exit.
This season, the franchise is 11-3 and sitting in the Western Conference semifinals.
They’ve had some issues in the offseason, but Toronto’s still going strong, and there are no signs of the type of collapse that we saw in the 2014-15 season.
But Lowry’s retirement was the first real setback for the franchise.
He played in the second round of the playoffs, when the Cavaliers defeated the Warriors, but that game was overshadowed by a series of controversies involving the team.
After that loss to the Warriors on January 1, Cleveland players started making accusations that Toronto fans were responsible for throwing trash at the Cavs.
A few days later, the Cavaliers were accused of intentionally kicking a man in the back.
This was the culmination of a year of the most serious accusations against the team and the players.
The Raptors had to take a hard look at themselves and their leadership and their commitment to winning.
Lowry, for one, was on the verge of getting fired.
But after the series against Cleveland, the NBA finally made changes.
Lowry became a full-time assistant in the Cavs’ front office.
He stayed on the team, and he even got a new job as a consultant.
Lowry even took a vacation in Florida this week.
Lowry and DeRosa, the rookie point guard, are teammates for now.
But the real test for the Raptors will come on Wednesday night when the team hosts the Houston Rockets, who are in the same division as Toronto.
Toronto has lost four straight, including three straight in Houston, and this team has been struggling to find a way to win in the regular season.
They haven’t won a game in the West this season, and in the playoffs this year, they’ve been outscored by an average of 14 points per 100 possessions.
They’re now 0-5 in their last six games.
“I think we’ve been getting to a point where we’ve got to be more prepared and prepared for the playoffs,” DeRol said.
“We’ve been a really good team, we’ve done a lot of things well this year and we have to do better.
It’s not all about this season.
We’ve got two more games to go.”
DeRosa said he’s ready to do whatever it takes to help his team win in Houston.
“I’m just going to try to do what I can to help this team win,” he