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