In the critical moments of the game, every possession matters. Players are in overdrive mode, locked in on either scoring the basket on offense, or getting the ball back on defense. In Game 1 of the Conference Semifinals series between the Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers, DeMar DeRozan showed that he was willing to do anything to get the ball back.
In the clip below, DeRozan received a hard elbow from Kevin Love. Below is a gif of the play in slow motion:
DeMar DeRozan's face in slow mo on that elbow from Love pic.twitter.com/bk5NJ0vMjQ
— CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) May 2, 2018
Love already secured the ball. But DeRozan simply did not give up. He and his teammates pounced on the Cavs big man. And Love, in response, fended them off by pulling the ball away aggressively. As bad luck would have it, DeRozan got hit with a solid elbow. It was obviously accidental. But the impact was felt.
However, DeRozan, of all the people, knows what he’s diving into. Critics have panned the Raptors continuously. They do well in the regular season. But come playoff time, they seem to disappear. DeRozan has a big chip on his shoulder.
In ESPN’s The Jump, DeRozan and Kyle Lowry voiced out their frustrations towards critics who have downplayed the Raptors:
“They [the media] always say myself and DeMar, we don’t play well in the playoffs,” Lowry said. “At the end of the day, we’ve been to a conference finals, we’ve been to the second round, we’ve played the fifth most playoff games in the last — whatever — how many years.”
DeRozan for his part simply said: