DeRozan, Lowry stay motivated by playoff loss: 'It's still in my head'
The Toronto Raptors won't face the Washington Wizards until the end of this month. And that's given DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry plenty of time to dwell on Toronto's playoff exit at the hands of the Wizards back in May.
We won't go through the painful details in order to spare Raptors fans. But DeRozan and Lowry don't have that luxury, as they told NBA.com writer David Aldridge recently:
"Man, it's still in my head, honestly," DeRozan said last week. "Until we get back to that moment, and I feel we have a fair shot at redeeming ourselves. That's the only thing that matters. You want to get back in that position and do better than what you did last year. That's the only way you're going to feel better about that last year." [...]
"I don't think you ever make peace with it," All-Star guard Kyle Lowry said. "You learn from it. You put in the back of your mind, like, okay, how can I grow from it and not dwell on it too much. Grow from it, and get rid of it. You keep it there, but you get rid of it. We can always go back and watch the film, but if you dwell on it too much, just keep digging on it, it can bother you."
Yet this year's team is wholly different from the previous version. The Raptors ran teams off the court last season with a top five offense. But the departure of Lou Williams and addition of DeMarre Carroll have been part of an overhaul in Toronto, as the Raptors have focused on defense throughout camp. Toronto is still a top five offense in the early part of this season, but the defense has started to improve. Headed into Tuesday's action, the Raptors ranked 12th in defensive efficiency, and that's with Carroll limited with pain in his foot caused by plantar fasciitis.