Toronto Raptors v Cleveland Cavaliers

Heading into this final meeting of the season, Cleveland leads the season series 2-1. The last time they met in Toronto, Kyrie Irving sunk the Raptors with a three-point dagger just before the buzzer. More recently, the Raptors fell to an Irving-less Cavs squad led by Dion Waiters and Luke Walton. 

Start time: 6:00 PM ET
Channel: Sportsnet One

Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller

Injury report
Toronto: Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay are out
Cleveland: Daniel Gibson (flu) is a game-time decision, Anderson Varejao and Omri Casspi are out.

Random Thoughts

-A lot has been made about the poor shooting percentages of Rudy Gay, who’s out of the lineup tonight with back stiffness, since he was acquired from Memphis. From 16-23 feet, Rudy is shooting 25 percent as a Raptor, but the first thing to note when looking at these numbers is that this is a very small sample size of just¬†15 games. For his career, Rudy has actually shot 38 percent from 16-23 feet and the league average for small forwards this year from that distance is 36 percent, so it is reasonable to expect Gay will begin to return to his career percentages in due time. If we dig a little deeper, it’s clear that Gay has either been forced to or is just choosing to take much more difficult shots in Toronto. A career-low 18.8 percent of his jumpers from 16-23 feet have been assisted in Toronto and a career-low 42.9 percent of his three-point attempts have been assisted in Toronto. An off-season and training camp of work with his new teammates and a redesigned offence that focuses on him should make Gay much more efficient next year.

-Toronto’s season officially came to an end last Saturday against Milwaukee. It would be nice to see the young players get some run in the remaining meaningless games, but for some reason, that hasn’t happened. In the three games since their loss to the Bucks, Jonas Valanciunas hasn’t played more than 20 minutes once and Terrence Ross received a DNP-CD in Toronto’s last game against the Lakers. At this point, there’s no good reason to be playing Aaron Gray over Valanciunas and no reason to play Alan Anderson over Ross. Dwane Casey has had questionable rotations all year and sitting rookies on a team that is out of the playoffs continues that trend.

- Neither Joseph or I will be able to post our thoughts on the game later tonight, but feel free to post your own thoughts and observations in the comment section below. We’ll be back on Monday with a new episode of RaptorBlog Radio.

Comments (12)

  1. From what I understand, the main criticism is that Gay is forcing these shots, instead of playing smart, fundamental basketball. I haven’t seen any games since the trade, but if that’s the case (and really the recaps and comments suggest that it is), I actually don’t think it’s reasonable that a player will return to career averages, especially when the context is different.
    The Raptors have pretty much always been a team that plays dumb ball. Memphis has been better than the Raptors this season. Some of that is the players, some of it is the coaching.
    If the easy chances aren’t there because of the worse coaching and less-talented players, Gay’s response seems to be to try and win by himself. He’s not being successful doing that, so until the approach changes, the results are likely to continue in the same vein. Is he a disaster, I don’t think so, but he’s not as big a positive as he could be.

    • Especially coming down the stretch in certain games (Memphis, LAL) Gay has forced some bad shots. I think there is an element of “trying to prove yourself” after a trade. But there is no question that it will also take time to adjust to his teammates and the offence in Toronto. It’s not just him forcing up shots. His teammates are giving him the ball with 10 seconds on the shot clock and expect him to create.

      The other thing to note, is that Rudy has had a very positive impact on DeMar. The double teams don’t come as often to DD and the help isn’t as quick or consistent as it was before the Gay trade.

  2. The real issue for me is decision making altogether. Knowing WHEN to pass, shoot and from where.

  3. No Bargnani!

    YES!

  4. why did Gay not play in the first half of this game? I checked the Raptors tv companion on raptors.com and according to that he’s played 0 minutes. Any injury I haven’t heard about?

  5. Haha, love seeing Ross and Val get benched down the stretch again.

    Only a matter of time we get a “The Case for Casey” troll piece from Oliver.

    • Ha! Not likely and no I wasn’t trolling about BC (although it may have appeared that way). Honestly believe that his draft resume and recent trades should be enough to at least pick up his option

  6. Casey just said the reason JV did not play at the end of the Laker’s game was because Dwight was having his way with him?

    http://www.nba.com/advancedstats/player-vs-player.html#Jonas-Valanciunas-vs-Dwight-Howard|202685,2730;year=201213;season=r

    Jonas’ averages SOARED when he was on vs Howard, and Howard’s averages significantly plummeted. 25 and 12 from Jonas per 36 vs Dwight, while Dwight has 14 and 8 per 36? I will take that matchup any day, and if you can’t see, Dwight’s FG% and +/- goes up significantly with JV on the bench.

    This dude is talking out of his ass, and his piss poor rotations have lost us too many games. I really loved Casey in his first year, and tried to make excuses for him this year, but this has gone too far.

    He’s hindering the progress of our future, and no coach should be able to get away with that.

    • Completely agree with everything you said, I remember watching this interview and yelling ‘oh F*CK OFF’ at the tv. He must think the fans are morons.

      I was a big Casey fan last year but this season has really exposed his flaws, and I’m fed up with the Anderson, Lucas and Aaron Gray show. Not only are our young guys better options (most of the time, and all the time when it comes to Jonas over AG), why are we trying to win games at the expense of developing our young players when the season is basically over? Which I still don’t buy because his rotations are costing us games AND developing young players. Not to mention as soon as the season is out of reach (even though he shoulda been getting minutes anyway), Acy gets sent down to the D-league! I am no basketball expert, but that’s an obvious brainless move by an incompetent GM. Unless he’s pulling all the strings with Casey’s rotations, which I doubt is the case, I’m seriously questioning him as the head coach of this team going forward.

      • Should have said: *costing us games AND hampering the development of our young players.

        Being a fan of this team is actually torture. When the players aren’t shitting the bed, coaching & management is doing it for them.

  7. Lowry just made the most BOSS shot ever!

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