Earlier in the day, Toronto coach Dwane Casey talked about the way in which experience reveals and asserts itself over an opponent still relatively on training wheels as far as this postseason pageant goes.
“On the road,” Casey said. “That’s where it’s got to show. Don’t get rattled. Keep your composure. You play to your identity. Don’t do things you don’t normally do. Every experienced team I’ve been around, on the road is kind of where it shows up.”
It’s hard, however, for a team’s experience to show up when the team itself doesn’t show up. That was apparent from the start for the Raptors, who fell behind in the first quarter 32-12, managed only 30 points by halftime, eventually trailed the Milwaukee Bucks by as much as 34 points and got drubbed 104-77 Thursday to drop into a 1-2 hole in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series.
Not get rattled? Keep their composure? Not even close.
“We got our a—busted,” Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry said. He added: “I still think we can win the series. It ain’t over. … It just sucks right now.”
Lowry, wrapping up his 11th NBA season, has gone to the playoffs five times, including the past four years. He had appeared in 44 postseason games prior to this series, part of a seasoned starting lineup that – with DeMar DeRozan (31), DeMarre Carroll (47), Jonas Valanciunas (23) and Serge Ibaka (89) – boasted 234 games of playoff experience.