|Amir Johnson, PF 28 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +1I feel bad for the guy; nobody should have to chase Kevin Love around for a full game. He provided his usual gritty defence and was a big part of why the Cavs offence slowed to a halt after the first quarter. I know he’s hit one in the last two games, but three summer 3s in a game is three too many.|
|Terrence Ross, SF 18 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -17Like DeMar, he started slow from the field. Unlike DeMar, he wasn’t able to get himself going in the second half. Shawn Marion ate his lunch on the defensive end. It’s a tough matchup, and the lack of production is likely tied to the Raptor game plan: their ball-dominant offence doesn’t necessarily call for a lot of threes off screens. That said, take a page out of DeMar’s book and start crashing the hoop to get yourself going, son.|
|Jonas Valanciunas, C 26 MIN | 4-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 8 PTS | 0Flashed a few impressive post moves in the third quarter, when he took Kevin Love to school and helped the Raptors pull away. That said, he was extremely passive on the glass tonight, and Anderson Varejao had his number for long stretches. It seems like he can have some mental lapses occasionally, particularly when it comes to defensive rebounding. I can forgive that from a player at the start of his 3rd year, but he needs to be more consistent to earn the big minutes he probably should be playing.|
|Kyle Lowry, PG 37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 11-12 FT | 3 REB | 8 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 23 PTS | +10Took two early fouls, which limited his effectiveness guarding Kyrie Irving somewhat, but still played the type of gritty basketball we’re used to from him, drawing a charge on LeBron in the 3rd quarter. He was the sparkplug that keyed the Raptor run in the third. No reason to be surprised anymore: the guy is a star, if not a superstar.|
|DeMar DeRozan, SG 42 MIN | 7-18 FG | 6-7 FT | 5 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 20 PTS | +5A tale of two halves for DeMar: early on, he was frustrated by LeBron James and threw up multiple airballs within a 1 of 8 half. In the second half, he was excellent: realizing he wasn’t hitting from outside, he started driving the lane with authority, got himself going, and then began shooting again. It’s a sign of maturity: rather than force it, he found another way to score. Did as good a job guarding LeBron as you could possibly hope for him and was a big reason why he had such a rough night.|
|Patrick Patterson, PF 24 MIN | 1-4 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 5 PTS | +20I was really impressed with his work defensively tonight, where he played excellent help D in particular, which is not his calling card. Didn’t factor into the second unit offence with Williams going Super Saiyan, but contributed across the box score with 6 boards, 3 assists, a steal and a block.|
|Chuck Hayes, C 15 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +13No, he can’t guard Kevin Love, but he can do pretty much whatever else you need. Came up with 3 steals tonight, hit another runner, pulled down a few tough boards in traffic, and fouled his check rather than let them get past him. Keep doing your thing, Chuckster.|
|Greg Stiemsma, C 2 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Got a cup of coffee with the game out of reach, did nothing of note. #wewantBruno|
|Greivis Vasquez, PG 18 MIN | 2-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 7 PTS | +16Foul trouble limited him early, and he was largely relegated to taking a backseat for the Lou Williams show. He got it back a little bit in the second half, but he wasn’t really needed in this game and didn’t see much run late.|
|Louis Williams, SG 29 MIN | 9-19 FG | 15-15 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 36 PTS | +37I don’t know how this guy can move so fast with those 200-pound cajones he’s carrying around. He WAS the Raptor offence in the first half – he had 24, including another buzzer beater 3, and kept things rolling in the second, most memorably when he crossed up LeBron and cashed a long two over his head. When he’s got it going, that Lowry/DD/Williams threesome is an absolute nightmare for other teams to guard, and he took advantage tonight en route to a career high in points.|
Did an excellent job tonight of finding a lineup that worked after an abysmal start. I give him a ton of credit for sticking with a Lowry/DeMar/Williams lineup that was extremely undersized compared to the Irving/Marion/James trio that Cleveland ran with. He’s excellent at calling timeouts when the team really needs a breather; one that I found particularly impressive was in the third quarter after a Lowry dive for a loose ball with the play slowly getting out of control. This team is firing on all cylinders right now – how can you not give him a big share of the credit?
Three Things We Saw
- Cleveland started this game on a 24-6 run: Toronto looked listless, and LeBron was having his way with Terrence Ross as his primary defender. Casey switched DeRozan onto LeBron, Lou Williams absolutely exploded, and the rest was history. Think about this: take away that run, and the Raptors outscored the Cavs 104-69 the rest of the way.
- Speaking of Lou Williams’ incredible night, his 36 points were just two shy of the Raptors’ team record for bench scoring, which was set by Donyell Marshall during his NBA-record three point performance in 2005 (shout out to @Scott1Hastie for the info).
- How great was it having “let’s go Raptors” chants drowning out the crowd in Cleveland in the fourth quarter? This has been an awesome ride so far – here’s hoping it continues Monday night against a tough Suns team.