SPORTS

Down 0-2, Raptors admit to "alarming" lack of urgency in playoff series

04/22/2015 06:32 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 08:59 EDT
TORONTO - It was one of the lowest of the lows for the Toronto Raptors, and the morning after DeMar DeRozan summed it up best.

"If being down 0-2 shouldn't stimulate urgency, then I don't know what would," DeRozan said.

Yet through two dreadful playoff games against the Washington Wizards, they've been missing just that.

The Raptors dropped a horrendous 117-106 decision to the Wizards on Tuesday night, and head to Washington desperate to avoid elimination in four games.

They studied video Wednesday morning and came away with one glaring message.

"I think the most alarming thing we've seen was just our sense of urgency (and lack thereof)," Lou Williams said. "We didn't play with the energy we needed to, we didn't play with the sense of urgency in the situation that we were in, being down 1-0 at home. I felt like we should have competed harder. Games like that don't really come down to Xs and Os, it comes down to guys just wanting to win, and competing. I think they just did a better job than we did."

Kyle Lowry has struggled mightily, a stunning turn of events after he shone in last season's playoffs. The point guard left Tuesday's game with six minutes to go with a leg contusion, and spent Wednesday receiving treatment.

"He's fine, bruise, just his shin," coach Dwane Casey said.

Lowry has racked up 10 fouls through two games, and only eight assists and 13 points. Missing is the swagger and confidence he's known for.

"Obviously he's a little upset at the way he's played so far, with just the foul trouble and everything, but we should see one of his best efforts in the next game," said Williams, who scored a team-high 20 points in Game 2.

DeRozan, who's developed a close bond with Lowry since he signed with Toronto, said this playoff series has been "extremely frustrating" for Lowry.

"Him dealing with foul trouble, dealing with an injury (Tuesday) night, and me knowing him, it's just tough," DeRozan said. "He feels like he's letting us down in a sense, but we've all got to stick together no matter what. If you're not playing well, if you're missing shots, you've still got to stick together and fight through."

Lowry had a chance to lift Toronto to the second round of the playoffs last season, but his shot at the buzzer was blocked by Paul Pierce. The image of a devastated Lowry on his back and DeRozan consoling him was the most enduring of that series.

Asked if there's anything he can say to his teammate now, DeRozan said "He knows. He knows. For sure. He knows.

"And sometimes you've just got to be there as a teammate for him more than anything. And sometimes not saying nothing can be better than saying something. Just being there, supportive, being his teammate, knowing that we all going to be by each other's side right, wrong or indifferent."

Washington hosts Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday, then if needed, the series will return to Toronto for Game 5.

The Raptors have never been swept in a seven-game series. They went 2-4 against the New Jersey Nets in 2007, and 1-4 the following year against the Orlando Magic. They lost all three games — when the opening round was a five-game series — to the New York Knicks in their playoff debut in 2000.

In NBA history, teams ahead 2-0 have won the series 93.9 per cent of the time.

"We put ourselves in a tough position," DeRozan said. "We've got to go on the road and start off with Game 3 and get a win, move on from there. And we understand that. Nobody's ready to go home, nobody's ready to pack it up. We understand how bad we played these last two games and we want to do a lot better, especially in Game 3."

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