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Raptors facing familiar outcome despite season spent investing in change

4 14 0

TORONTO – There are all kinds of ways to make change for a dollar. The combinations are nearly unlimited.

But in the end, all you have is a dollar.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri has been making change furiously all season long. He cashed in former head coach Dwane Casey for Nick Nurse. Exchanged DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl (and a draft pick) for at least one season of Kawhi Leonard and at the trade deadline turned Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright and C.J. Miles into Marc Gasol.

And yet the Raptors are – give or take a nickel here or a dime there – where they’ve always been for several years: A good regular-season team that ends up a day late or a dollar short in the post-season.

It’s almost like the NBA is a highly analyzed economic eco-system where it’s difficult to buy low and sell high.

You wonder if that might be in the back of Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse’s mind as he tries to figure out what levers he can pull to change the course of the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks for Game 3 on Sunday night at Scotiabank Arena and will be trying to avoid going down 0-3 to the surging Bucks and their dominating star, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The mountain is already tall enough. Of the 72 Conference Finals that have started with one team going 2-0, the early leader has gone on to win 67 times, according to WhoWins.com.

Fall down 3-0? Of the 132 teams who have been in that hole, not one has ever come back from the........

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