|Amir Johnson, PF Shot Chart 36 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 9 PTS | +5On hobbled ankles the guy delivered a sound performance. Defending without fouling used to be his weakness and how it’s his specialty. Was called upon to play heavy minutes in the fourth and kept Cleveland’s aggressive big men off the boards, and paid due attention to the onslaught of drives. Let go them threes man, let go them threes. I get if you’re open you got to have a go, but in the fourth quarter that shot is being offered to you rather than you evading the defense. Realize that.|
|Terrence Ross, SF Shot Chart 32 MIN | 7-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +3Can we stop giving this guy nicknames? Nicknames happen organically, you don’t have contests, debates, and discussions to create nicknames. If he’s going to get a nickname, he’s going to get one naturally, so just stop. Oh yeah, the game. The threes kept the Raptors in the game, early in the first he was the guy that got it going and also had a huge one in the fourth. The Raptors don’t expect much passing for him but over the last couple games he’s shown he can dribble-and-dish underneath. Casey didn’t choose to put him on Irving for some reason so didn’t really have a chance to lock-in on D, but when he finally did in the fourth, Irving had issues negotiating him. Nice dunk.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 2 PTS | -11Sometimes he looks like a 58-year old arthritic man out there. A step behind the play on defense, a step behind his teammates on offense. It was almost like he wasn’t willing to step up and meet the Cavs frontline. Casey took him out for the fourth quarter and I can’t blame him for it.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG Shot Chart 35 MIN | 3-15 FG | 7-7 FT | 5 REB | 9 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | +1Poor shooting game, had to defend Iriving for the majority of the game which might’ve had an effect on that. Despite that, he had an impact. Iriving had a big line but Lowry’s individual defense was acceptable (took a huge charge in the fourth), it’s the Raptors rotations when Irving got into the paint after a screen that made things look bad. Didn’t let the bad shooting affect the distribution, which is a mark of a good PG.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG Shot Chart 40 MIN | 12-25 FG | 9-13 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 33 PTS | +8Delivered in the fourth quarter which is what he’s going to be judged by going forward. The jumpers were too many for me but it’s not like they’re coming out of isolation ball. There’s good screen-usage, hand-offs, point-to-wing passing between him and his teammates before he steps back to launch that jumper. One of the better games this year for him defensively, especially when guarding Deng and Irving on switches.|
|Tyler Hansbrough, PF Shot Chart 17 MIN | 1-2 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +4He doesn’t need a blurb, it’s the same thing every night. In games like these where the opposition is trying to out-physical you, it’s great having a guy like this on the team.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF Shot Chart 25 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 3 PTS | +14Played superb individual defense in the fourth quarter, helped well on the drives, and acted as the ‘first station’ of the Raptors attack in the fourth. Not a smooth offensive performance but that’s the beauty of this guy – he’s ugly productive.|
|John Salmons, SF Shot Chart 20 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2Defended Irving for a big stretch in this game when he wasn’t even well enough to participate in shootaround. Not seeing the logic here, the guy had some lower-back issues today and needed the night off.|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG Shot Chart 17 MIN | 6-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 15 PTS | +4Hit some big threes in the first half and also one in the fourth. Got taken a little advantage of by Dellavedova at times, but given the extensive usage of the two-guard lineup with him and Lowry, performed well. Defensively, he’s always going to let you down a little so you got to learn to live with that.|
|Chuck Hayes, PF Shot Chart DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Bro, you should’ve played.|
|Landry Fields, SF Shot Chart DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | He’s like a comet. You see him once every 75 years.|
|Nando de Colo, PG Shot Chart DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS | Nando no play.|
I do not get not starting Ross on Irving given the success in Toronto. I simply don’t, that alone risked this game and for that I cannot forgive him. Relying on DeRozan to bail you out isn’t a good strategy. Would’ve almost liked to have seen how Chuck Hayes would’ve handled the Cavs physical presence (I know I sound like a fool calling for Chuck Hayes).
Four Things We Saw
- The refs bailed us out man. There were some calls in the fourth quarter that should’ve resulted in FTs for the Cavs. I call it the universe balancing itself out.
- This game should not have been this close – the Cavs made a run in the second quarter that was borne out of carelessness and turnovers, where the Raptors didn’t score for the last 3:10 of the half
- Lowry struggled shooting, and in his previous stints in Houston he would’ve gotten frustrated and abandoned the team game. Now, he’s matured and has learnt to keep playing and contribute. He distributed the ball well and didn’t let the effort dip, that’s progress for him as a player.
- The Raptors shot 11 FTs in the fourth, and only 13 for the rest of the game. They weren’t as aggressive on offense as they needed to be and that prevented this from being a 12-15 point easy win.