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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Living in a van down by the river
Daily Raptor Dish - 26.02.10
Bosh-less Raps need to pick it up at both ends of court vs. Cavs
Raptors Blog by Doug Smith
As much as cleaning up some offensive issues will be important against Cleveland, playing better defence is vital. The Cavs upped the NBA's best record to 45-14 with a win in Boston Thursday and have added perennial all-star Antawn Jamison to a lineup dominated by LeBron James.
Jamison and Shaquille O'Neal – who sprained his thumb against the Celtics – may be good offensive players on their own, but James drives Cleveland.
"Guys like him and Kobe, I don't know if you can limit them," Toronto's Jarrett Jack said of James. "You try to make their touches as tough as possible and hopefully they miss if you challenge their shots. Put yourself in the best position defensively and hope they miss."
Raptors brace for royal visit
That’s what they call shooting sessions that Antoine Wright goes through with assistant coach Eric Hughes back at the Air Canada Centre most evenings after afternoon practices.
Saw Antoine give Eric a signal for a 6 p.m. get together when practice ended just after noon on Thursday and figured I’d check with Wright to see how long he’d be hanging out and shooting.
He said it really depends on the night, his mood and the willingness of the ball to go into the basket.
Sometimes if he’s making shot after shot, he can get to 250 attempts and feel good about in 45 minutes; sometimes it can be appreciably longer.
The drills are pretty much as you’d expect. Five-station shooting drills inside and outside the three-point line, one dribble pull-ups and work coming off imaginary screens.
Pretty basic stuff but as Wright said, he needs to feel each night that he’s in a good rhythm before he’s satisfied with the work.
Raptors must soldier on without injured Bosh
Having failed to deal with a blue-collar team like the Portland Trailblazers the other night, the Toronto Raptors now face the unenviable task of handling the NBA’s best team and its trio of stars while still missing their own big man, Chris Bosh.
So just how do you hope to neutralize LeBron James – not to mention Shaquille O’Neal and Antawn Jamison – and beat the 44-14 Cleveland Cavaliers?
“I think if you can turn LeBron into a perimeter player that’s always a plus,” Raptors guard Jarrett Jack said hopefully yesterday. “I think he’s a double threat once he’s getting into the lane. When that happens, we start to collapse with him and he starts to find shooters and get other guys involved.
“If we can have him try to beat us from the outside, that’s the best we can ask for.”
Considering James hardly ever backs off driving to the basket and he was shooting 50.2 per cent from the floor before the Cavaliers visited the Boston Celtics last night and averaging just under 30 points per game, there is more than a touch of wishful thinking in that thought. Plus, James averaged a triple double in points, assists and rebounds over the Cavaliers’ previous two meetings with Toronto this season, with each team winning one.
Cleveland Cavaliers have a feel-good moment with 108-88 rout of Celtics at Boston
"I'm not going to push it. I'm not going to force anything. That's how you get in trouble," Bosh said. "That's how things don't go your way for the long run. As good as [the Cavaliers] are, it's only one game. We still have a lot more basketball to play. And we play them again. I look forward to it. If I miss this time, there's always a next time."
The Cavaliers certainly present a formidable challenge, especially with the way the Raptors are playing. Toronto is having trouble taking care of the ball, as evidenced by the team's 16 turnovers in a lopsided loss to Portland on Wednesday.
The explanation for that is straightforward.
"When you have Chris Bosh in the lineup, a lot of times you give it to him and he either creates or holds the ball and makes a play," Raptors head coach Jay Triano said. "Right now, we're having to make more passes each possession down the floor to find ways to score. When you do that, there's a better chance that guys turn it over."
Without Bosh, the Raptors' margin for errors becomes slimmer. Turnovers must be limited. Against an elite team like Cleveland, the margin shrinks even more.
The Celtics shot 70 percent in the first quarter and 60 percent in the first half, racking up baskets like they were on some sort of defense-less practice drill.
But in the second half, without O'Neal and without the departed Zydrunas Ilgauskas to back him up, the Cavs were desperate. And, as it turned out, dangerous.
Cavs coach Mike Brown went small and put forward Anderson Varejao at center and backed him up with forward J.J. Hickson. That instantly made the Cavs more athletic, and athletic teams give the Celtics trouble. The Atlanta Hawks, who play without a true center, are 4-0 against Boston this season.
With Varejao and Hickson using quickness and hustle, and the rest of the team following suit, the Cavs squashed the Celtics' offense and displayed defense they have not shown in weeks. Also part of the mix was guard Jamario Moon, who played strong wing defense on Allen.
"We play faster without Shaq in the lineup," James said. "He's going to take as much time as he needs to get healthy, but we need him out there because in the playoffs you can't play fast all the time."
But no one was stronger than Varejao, whose quickness at the center spot choked off the Celtics' pick and roll game. After the huge first half, the Celtics were a shocking 9-of-41 (22 percent) shooting and scored just 32 points in the second half. Rondo, who had 14 points and eight assists in the first half, finished with just 19 and 11. Allen, who had 13 points in the first half, finished with 21, and the rest of the team, which was without star Paul Pierce, did nothing.
Varejao added 14 points and 10 rebounds and a technical foul for getting in the face of Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who came unnerved with it all.
"We played more aggressive and were moving better on defense in the second half," Varejao said. "Everybody was active, trying to help and be in good position."
The fact the Cavs maintained their cool made the difference.
"Nothing surprises me with this team," James said. "We've done this over and over."
Sunshine Girl - 26.02.10
RF Girl of the Day – April Scott
SUNshine Girl Julie wants to live her life to the fullest and she does it with her modelling career. When she wants to relax the 23-year-old likes to curl up with a book or play poker with her friends.