Kyle Lowry sat on a chair, his ankles and knees encased in ice, his voice barely audible.
Next to him sat Rudy Gay, head down and covered in a towel. You could feel the dejection emanating from him.
Next to him sat DeMar DeRozan, alternating shaking his head in disbelief and burying himself in his thoughts in the same towel-draping way his teammates were.
DeRozan finally looked up, let out a long, long sigh, shook his head and said:
“We needed to win that game. We needed to win the last two games.”
He was right, of course. But if the Raptors were bound to learn something about themselves from this pivotal week in the NBA’s regular season, it’s not overly good.
Two nights after drifting through a disheartening home loss to the league’s worst road team, the Raptors spat up another one here on Wednesday night, losing 103-92 to a Cleveland Cavalier team playing for the second night in a row and missing all-star point guard Kyrie Irving.
So for all the chatter about playoffs and making the last 25 games of the regular season meaningful, there are far more issues that need to be addressed before that can be a reality.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Lowry as the Raptors fell to 23-35 on the season, hardly the record of a legitimate playoff team.
But it wasn’t as if DeRozan, Gay and Lowry hadn’t done their share to at least give the Raptors a chance.
DeRozan had 34 points and was outstanding, Gay had 24 and was good, Lowry was okay with 11 points and eight assists.
The backups? Atrocious, bordering on despicable, as the team’s second unit simply wasn’t up to the task.
Andrea Bargnani was worse than he’s ever been and did not score a point while loafing on defence like he was afraid of contact.