In the Paint
Join Date: Dec 2007
Daily Raptor Dish - 06.01.2011
Raptors show some grit beating Cavs
Raps' DeRozan will dunk, if asked
Toronto went down big early to a club that has now won just one of its past 19 games, but little-used forward Julian Wright and hurting point guard Jose Calderon sparked the visitors to a 120-105 win at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Wright stuffed the stat-sheet with a season-best 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists and energized his team’s defence, while Calderon and Leandro Barbosa were on fire from the field.
In the end, the 12-23 Raptors prevailed over the 8-27 Cavaliers, snapping an 11-game losing streak in Cleveland that dates back to 2004.
“Everybody gave us something,” summed up Calderon, who said he came out “mad” because foot and ankle injuries forced him to miss Tuesday’s loss in Chicago.
Toronto — the NBA’s worst outside-shooting squad — shot 9-of-18 from deep.
Calderon fought through pain to roast the Cavs in a 20-point, 17-assist masterpiece which included perfect shooting from long-range.
Meanwhile Barbosa — forced to play backup point guard at times because Jerryd Bayless was unable to play behind Calderon — scored 22 points of his own.
Raptors beat Cavaliers in battle of the bad
Even though he was an afterthought this time around, if the NBA asks DeMar DeRozan to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest again, he’ll do it.
DeRozan’s good friend Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks will take part in the 2011 event in Los Angeles along with the hometown favourite Blake Griffin of the Clippers, Washington centre JaVale McGee and Oklahoma City big man Serge Ibaka.
DeRozan was the runner-up last year, falling to Nate Robinson.
“No they didn’t ask (and) I wasn’t really paying too much mind to it,” DeRozan said prior to his team’s tilt with the Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
“(But) it would be fun to do it, it’s at home.”
When queried on whether he would jump in for Jennings, also from Compton, if the point guard is not healthy enough to take part (Jennings is currently out wit a broken foot), DeRozan confidently responded: “Yeah, I’d go. I’ll win it.”
DeRozan said he lost last year’s dunk off because he was not fully confident that his body was 100%.
“There’s a lot of stuff I wanted to do, but I just came off the injury.
“I was kind of timid because my leg was still bothering me,” he said.
DeRozan added he had never lost a dunk contest until falling to Robinson.
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
Toronto had also been on a three-game losing streak.
They snapped out of it thanks to Jose Calderon’s 38 minutes as the starting point guard. A night after sitting out a loss in Chicago with a sprained right ankle and a sore left foot, Calderon scored 20 points on 8-for-10 field-goal shooting while dishing out 17 assists; this while Jerryd Bayless, who started at point guard in a Tuesday loss in Chicago, sat in street clothes nursing a sore left ankle.
They snapped out of it because they improved their defence, sure. (Triano said they contested just 19 per cent of Cleveland’s shots in the first quarter, even as they’re aiming to have a hand in the shooter’s face on something more in the 40th percentile).
They snapped out of it because they turned one of their biggest offensive deficiencies into a momentary strength. Though they came into the game as the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, the Raptors drilled nine of 18 attempts from deep, including three makes each from Calderon and Bargnani, the latter of whom led the Raptors with 25 points.
It didn’t hurt, of course, that the Cavaliers are dead last in the league at defending the three-ball (which suggests bad offence can beat bad defence). It didn’t hurt that the Cavs, one could argue, regressed to their average as shooters after that hot first quarter, making just 43 per cent of their attempts in frames two through four. (Which suggests bad offence — when it’s as bad as Cleveland’s — can have an awfully hard time overcoming even the softest of defences).
And it certainly didn’t hurt that the Raptors, a night after dishing out a combined 22 assists with Bayless running the point in a ball-holding disaster in Chicago, combined for 35 helpers on Wednesday.
The sharing showed in other stat lines, including the combined 37 points off the bench for Leandro Barbosa and Julian Wright, who injected much-needed energy.
“It’s different when you have a (true) point guard running the show,” Triano said. “Jose makes sure everybody is in the right place all the time. He’s a passing point guard who can knock down shots. Not to take away from Jerryd — he’s more of a scorer. And Leandro (Barbosa), when he plays points he’s more of a scorer. You could see tonight, it was a world of difference with a point guard out there running the show.”
Raptors rout Cavaliers
Best of the year?
If that wasn’t Jose Calderon’s best game of the season, I certainly can’t think of the better one.
The 20 points off an efficient 10 shots was nice but the season-best 17 assists were even better.
Two plays come to mind, both early.
He comes off a high screen and there a couple of options, a shot, a pass down the lane or a drive. But, no, he waited just a split second for space to clear and the defence to start moving and it was just enough time to find Kleiza for a wide-open three from the side.
A couple of plays later he does almost exactly the same thing only this time he gives a little ball fake to freeze guys and hits a jumper.
Those are plays veterans make, good, solid, smart basketball plays and that’s the kind of point guard play teams need.
Is Sonny worried?
Maybe he should be.
What Julian Wright is giving is exactly what these guys needs most nights and earlier this season, Jay was on record as saying the best players would play as long as they kept contributing and guys returning from being hurt wouldn’t be automatically given their jobs, or minutes, back.
If he’s true to that word, doesn’t it mean that Wright has to stay in the rotation until his play drops off?
Makes sense to me.
Raptors rip Cavaliers 120-105
“Every time I think we're taking a step forward, we're taking two steps back,” Scott said. “That's frustrating for any coach.”
Andrea Bargnani scored 25, Leandro Barbosa added 22 and Jose Calderon had a season-high 17 assists as the Raptors snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in 16 games. Calderon, back after missing one game with a sprained ankle, added 20 points and Julian Wright 15 for Toronto.
The Raptors trailed by 15 in the first quarter, but had little trouble coming back against a Cleveland team going through the motions.
“We just didn't guard tonight, anybody,” Scott said. “We've got to do a better job. We've got to take it personal. When you're one on one with a guy, it's got to be personal. Sometimes when those guys scored, it didn't hurt. It's got to hurt.”
Antawn Jamison scored 32 for Cleveland, which was outscored 94-69 over the final three quarters.
The Raptors were beaten by 20 points in Chicago on Tuesday, but they found just the thing to get them back on track — a trip to Cleveland.
Despite falling behind by 12 after the first quarter, the Raptors had no trouble bouncing back against the lowly Cavs, who now have an eight-game slide to go with a 10-gamer this season. It could get much worse for Cleveland, which begins a five-game road trip at Golden State on Friday.
“Nobody is going to feel sorry for us,” Jamsion said. “We need to find a cure soon.”
The Cavs were lifeless, and Scott was exasperated by their poor effort on defense. It didn't help that he was shorthanded after benching forward J.J. Hickson, who skipped a mandatory practice on Monday and didn't offer any excuse for his absence.
“It's in the past,” Hickson said. “Hopefully, it's just going to be for one game.”
Toronto's only scare in the fourth came when DeMar DeRozan lost his balance after missing a layup, fell and banged the back of his head on the floor. Several teammates ran over to check on him, but after a few moments, DeRozan walked to the bench without assistance and remained in the game.
Soon after, he scored nine consecutive points as the Raptors built a 105-90 lead.
Recap: Raptors 120, Cavs 105
"I was ready for this one," Calderon said. "I really concentrated. It doesn't matter how we played, this is a game we had to win. Everybody contributed. It was a bad first quarter, but after that everybody gave us something."
After going scoreless in the first quarter, Bargnani, who recently missed four games with a strained calf, scored 14 in the second when the Raptors put up 40, erasing Cleveland's lead and opening a 66-63 halftime lead.
Bargnani scored Toronto's first nine points to open the period, and Barbosa went on a personal seven-point streak. Wright's three-point play gave the Raptors their first lead at 50-48.
I don’t have it in me to dissect another feeble effort and another dreadful loss to another dreadful team. So I’ll just mention that the Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves are a combined 4-0 against the Cavaliers and 17-50 against the rest of the league. Yep, that about covers it.
The most disappointing aspect of this loss to me is J.J. Hickson. He and Cavs coach Byron Scott just had a clear-the-air chat last week. Scott essentially told him “I’m the leader, you’re the follow. Now I’ll lead and you follow.” And Hickson did, for about 45 minutes. Then he got off at the wrong exit again.
To be clear, Scott still likes Hickson and wants him to be part of this team. That’s why he continues to play him. Scott obviously has given up entirely on Jamario Moon. About 30 minutes after insisting his top priority was to win games, and he’ll play the guys that give him the best chance to win, Scott decided that D-Leaguers Manny Harris, Christian Eyenga and Alonzo Gee give him a better chance to win than Moon. That’s why all those guys were active and Moon wasn’t.
Heck, even Hickson was active over Moon, and Hickson wasn’t even going to play!