An airing of grievances may have helped the Toronto Raptors avoid nearing playoff extinction.
After falling into a 2-1 hole, Toronto now leads the Milwaukee Bucks 3-2 in their best-of-seven first-round series and credits the sudden turnaround to the team clearing the air following its 27-point Game 3 loss.
"It was just a heated film session, a heated film session between coaches and players," small forward DeMarre Carroll said after Monday's Game 5 win. "A lot of times when you get in a heated film session, it can go one of two ways -- it can go bad or it could go good.
"I feel like we came together, we saw the problem and we just try to keep building from this."
The Raptors earned their Game 4 and Game 5 victories by a combined margin of 36 points, thanks in part to big games from shooting guards DeMar DeRozan (33 points in Game 4) and Norman Powell (25 in Game 5).
Like Carroll, DeRozan credited the film session with helping the team right the ship, going so far as likening the Raptors' dynamic to that of a romantic relationship.
"Not to be all personal, but do you have a significant other?" DeRozan asked reporters following Game 5. "Y'all argue, right? The next day you say, 'Baby let me take you out to a nice dinner.' You have a great evening, a great day, and time after that be smooth until the next roller coaster.
"It happens. We together more than our own families ... there's nothing wrong with it, it's just part of the game. It's something we build from and we respond from it. So it's never nothing too serious that you guys, the media, may make of it. Sometimes it's just needed."
Now the third-seeded Raptors need just one more win to advance to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, with Game 6 slated for Thursday night in Milwaukee.
"I always say it's a first to four," Carroll said. "We can't worry about one game. We just have to keep getting better and better, and get some momentum going throughout the series."