I know the propensity back home will be to try and figure out what the Raptors did wrong but a large measure of what transpired last night came about because of all the things the Cavs did right.
That was as good a shooting performance, especially early, as you’re ever going to see it. It didn’t matter how well the Raptors contested shots – they did it quite well a lot of time – the Cavs made ‘em. There’s your story.
And there was this; please pardon any typos, this is being typed in the front seat of a car travelling at substantial speed down I-90. No I’m not driving.
Yeah, DeRozan’s night was awful and, sure, when he says “it sucks” as he did repeatedly in his quick post-game chat, he’s speaking the truth.
I know that Dwane says the Cavs aren’t doing anything that the Raptors – Lowry and DeRozan specifically haven’t seen – but they are doing it better and in slightly different ways.
P.J. Tucker called it a “corral” the other day and last night there were half a dozen or so instances where the second defender came from the baseline and I don’t think the Bucks did that at all during the first round.
There are ways to attack it and it’s on Casey, his staff and DeRozan to figure it out and they’ve got a day to do it.
I’m going way out on a limb here but if DeRozan scores five points like he did in Game 2 or he only gets seven or eight shots like he did in Game 1, there won’t be a Game 5.
Slow off the bat
I’m not saying it would have made any difference because of the way the Cavaliers played but missing so many open looks in the first four or five minutes had to be hugely deflating and you just wonder, what it.
Serge Ibaka had as bad a night as DeRozan when it mattered most, missing a three-pointer, a short jumper, another three-pointer and another short jumper before the game was six minutes old.
If he makes two of them – let’s say one of the wide open threes and an 11-footer – the Cavs don’t have a 10-point lead six minutes into the game and the sense of “oh, here we go again” doesn’t start working it’s way up and down the roster.
Ibaka’s a huge key and that’s two road games in a row he’s started horribly. He’s the guy who seems to get the most open looks when it’s Lowry-DeRozan-Powell on the floor – it was like that in the Milwaukee series, too.
They don’t have to do anything different with him, he’s just got to get the shots to go in; it takes all kinds of pressure off the rest of them and will allow them to at least stay in touch in the crucial first 10 minutes.
That was the feeling on the first Cleveland basket of the game because Tristan Thompson had a really easy offensive board and tip-in basket.
By going smallish with a Patterson-Ibaka frontcourt, the Raptors left themselves open to getting hammered on the boards because neither of those two would be considered upper echelon rebounders.
It didn’t turn out to be a factor mostly because the Cavs shot so incredibly well there weren’t many chances for Thompson and Love to crash the boards but if Toronto stays with that starting five – and I think they should – it’s got the potential to be an issue on Friday night.