Playing down to the level of the competition, you say? The Toronto Raptors lost their second-straight game Wednesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without star point guard Kyrie Irving. DeMar DeRozan had a great individual effort, scoring a game-high 34 points on 10-of-19 shooting, but it wasn’t enough for the Raps.
The Cavaliers came out performing pretty much how you’d expect an inexperienced team without its star to perform– getting shots blocked and then clunking them off the iron when they did get manage to successfully release their shot (they started 2-for-19). Young Canadian “talent” Tristan Thompson (Leo Rautins’ boy) looked less like an NBA player and more like that guy from those Primo Pasta commercials. It was also mildly entertaining to watch the Cavs play without a true point guard – it was sort of like watching a person walk around with no head.
The Cavs stormed back at the end of the first quarter, though, sparked by none other than former Los Angeles Laker and butt-of-every-joke Luke Walton. Now, I know this guy has gotten a lot of hate over the years, but I for one have always liked his game (as has Leo Rautins… which might be the first thing we’ve ever agreed upon). The Cavaliers, with their mean player age of, like, 13, responded to his veteran presence as he posted a plus/minus of plus-18 in just 9 minutes. Cleveland went on to drop 37 in the second quarter, absolutely decimating the Raptors bench crew. After the Raps got out to a 23-9 lead, the Cavs outscored them 48-25 the rest of the half.
In the second half, Cleveland continued the onslaught, stretching the lead to 86-71 with 9 minutes left in the game. Then, out of a timeout, Kyle Lowry potted an and-1 layup that sparked a 9-0 run with everybody getting involved. The lead remained around 6 for the remainder of the quarter. With a minute left, the Raptors committed a careless turnover and Alonzo Gee got a dunk on the other end to effectively seal the deal.
1. DeMar DeRozan. Ds had 34 points and was 14-of-15 from the line… after three quarters.
2. Rudy Gay. 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, just 2 turnovers.
3. The Cavs bench, which contributed 39 points to the Raptors’ 8. Starter Shaun Livingston was also deadly, scoring 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting and dropping 6 dimes.
1. The Raptors’ three-point shooting. A woeful 2-for-20 output from downtown certainly didn’t help the cause.
2. The Raps’ bench. Andrea Bargnani, Alan Anderson, John Lucas… the second unit got squashed tonight, and were rightfully given limited minutes.
3. Tristan Thompson and Alonzo Gee. I’m not impressed with these players.
The Raptors next game is Friday against the Indiana Pacers.