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Bouncing back is in the Raptors’ playoff DNA. But there’s no Kawhi to save them this time

If you’re a believer in the value of championship DNA and title-worthy grit — all those legend-making qualities the Raptors displayed and developed en route to raising a banner last year — maybe you look at their current predicament in the same way head coach Nick Nurse and various players were looking at it on Tuesday.

Yes, the Raptors find themselves down 3-2 in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal against the Celtics. And no, it’s never easy to explain how the same collection of athletes that set a franchise record for regular-season winning percentage could play as poorly as they did in Monday’s Game 5, when they scored a measly 11 points in the first quarter and effectively handed the game to an opponent that was never really challenged.