Quick Reaction

Quick Reaction: Raptors 103, Cavaliers 105; Cavaliers lead series 3-0

Toronto 103 Final
Box Score
105 Cleveland

O. Anunoby33 MIN, 18 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 7-12 FG, 4-7 3FG, 0-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Perhaps superior to Kyle Lowry tonight. He defender LeBron James well tonight, hit his shots, including a clutch bank 3 and a clutcher 3 to tie the game that won’t matter ever again.

D. DeRozan28 MIN, 8 PTS, 4 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 3-12 FG, 0-0 3FG, 2-2 FT, 2 BLK, 3 TO, -23 +/-

Let’s start with the positive: he defended LeBron well in isolation several times. Uhhh, that was it. His turnovers were unforced. His shooting was poor, and his decision-making was tentative.

J. Valanciunas20 MIN, 10 PTS, 11 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 4-4 FT, 2 BLK, 4 TO, -3 +/-

This could be a wide variety of grades, much like the variety of his defence in the pick and roll. He was several feet off sometimes, and then perfect on the next possession. It wasn’t a failure in scheme, but just mistakes. Offensively strong, but struggled on Love (like everyone).

K. Lowry41 MIN, 27 PTS, 3 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 9-13 FG, 4-8 3FG, 5-6 FT, 0 BLK, 5 TO, -6 +/-

He had me doubting before that fourth quarter! Lowry’s passing has never been worse tonight, but damn that scoring. On defence, he took some weird, loopy angles chasing Korver around screens. He shouldn’t be guarding Korver.

F. VanVleet33 MIN, 8 PTS, 1 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 2-9 FG, 1-7 3FG, 3-4 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 14 +/-

I can’t hang this on my guy, but I can’t in good conscious praise him for… anything. He started the game with a charge, missed innumerable triples, and seemingly didn’t know the shot clock was even at 5 seconds with a minute left in the game.

C. Miles34 MIN, 13 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 5-9 FG, 3-7 3FG, 0-1 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 6 +/-

Yes, he can shoot. That is good. But my god he can’t play defence. He bit pumpfakes tonight like I bit my nails. His defence was laughable on LeBron in the fourth after switches. More on that later.

S. Ibaka28 MIN, 11 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 4 BLK, 2 TO, 3 +/-

This was an even better game than his box score. He consistently made good decisions, and the effort on the glass on both sides was impressive. A few nice passes. He did the little things, which is rare for him. Also did the big things (aka blocking Jeff Green back to Oklahoma).

P. Siakam14 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-6 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -2 +/-

I cannot say more decisively that Siakam’s performance had the energy of a sad clown monologue. After opening the game with energy on the offensive glass, his defence for the rest of the game was atrocious. Kevin Love dominated him in the post during a stretch that put the game seemingly out of reach.

D. Wright8 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-1 3FG, 2-2 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, 1 +/-

Blocked Kevin Love at the rim on a putback. Had a nice transition assist to Anunoby for a corner triple. But did he really play in this game? I’m not so sure.

Dwane Casey

Pick a letter, any letter. I won’t argue. His rotations to start the game were as grasping as the cold hand of death, especially when he played DeRozan, Miles, and Valanciunas for maybe 30 seconds together before remembering that they’re the three horsemen of the Raptors’ apocalypse when playing together. Found an awesome rotation to close the game in Fred, Kyle, OG, Miles, and Ibaka. But allowed the switches onto LeBron? What? Why!? This doesn’t affect Casey’s terrific season-long coaching job. It does make tonight sting.

Things We Saw

  1. The Raptors had energy to start the game. They seemed a little manic, either rushing or dragging on alternate possessions, but certainly not in rhythm. They gave up a ton of open triples, and they couldn’t score at all. The Raptors had physicality in the second half, when DeRozan knocked LeBron in the head and Lowry dragged LeBron through a few steps of the dosey doe. That didn’t work. Execution finally worked in the fourth quarter. Enough with the tired clich√© of energy and physicality. Execution wins games.
  2. Why did the Raptors switch anybody onto LeBron? When they blew out the Cavs in the regular season, nobody saw even a moment of time on LeBron other than Anunoby and occasionally Siakam when OG sat. That worked. Why allow Miles – the team’s worst defender by a long shot – to switch without argument onto the best player in history? I don’t understand. I don’t want to understand.
  3. The Raptors turned the ball over with aplomb. On four-five possessions, assorted players looked like they were applying for government grants at the Ministry of Silly Walks. How can you compete for your playoff lives and play dumber than you have all season? The story of the game, beyond the obvious LeBron = GOAT, is that the Raptors were dumb and thus lost.
  4. Have I mentioned that the Raptors were dumb? They somehow almost forced overtime despite the turnovers, giving up countless offensive rebounds, and fouling like your hockey player friend trying to guard you on the drive. That should be a good thing. But the playoffs are small sample size theatre, and they’re down 3-0, facing a sweep in Cleveland. There are no moral victories.
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