Raptors at Cavaliers Points Per Game

- March 14th, 2012

CLEVELAND – Nobody has an explanation as to why the Raptors are Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers’ Kryptonite. Irving missed a lot of shots he usually drops and looked better than he had in the previous two meetings. The Raptors just prevent matchup problems for the Cavaliers, especially if Anderson Varejao – one of many Raptor-killers – is out of the lineup. We asked DeMar DeRozan why the team has won five-of-six against Cleveland?

“LeBron ain’t there no more.”

- Liked the job Jerryd Bayless did. He made Irving work hard at both ends. He looked for his teammates the way Dwane Casey wants him to and hit some daggers to turn the tide of the game. It’s uncanny how much better Bayless plays as a starter than as a reserve (check the split stats). He is far more suited to a starting role than a reserve one, which is too bad, because I don’t think many people believe he can be a quality starting point guard in the NBA. As a starter his season he is averaging 15.4 points and 4.1 assists though he shoots better from three and the line as a reserve. Last year he averaged 18.1 points and 6.7 assists as a starter.

- Bayless has been a good soldier for the Raptors, willing to accept whatever role handed to him, but there is no question he is one of the most competitive people on the team.

He relishes starting assignments.

“Opportunities don’t come around all the time. Being in the NBA and competing at this level is an opportunity. Every night I’m on the court I’m going to try to do my best and go all out,” Bayless said.

But it won’t be an easy opportunity with Irving, Deron Williams (depending on his health), Mike Conley Jr. and Kemba Walker/D.J. Augustin on deck.

“Might want to be careful what you wish for in this league,” Casey said with a laugh of Bayless’ tough task.

“In the NBA, there’s always a gunslinger coming out. Jerryd did a good job of it on Sunday (against Milwaukee, holding Brandon Jennings to a dismal shooting night).

“For him to run the team is another process for him because he’s an attack guard, he’s a pitbull. He’s doing a better job of seeing his teammates. We need him to score also. Need him to set the table, so it’s kind of a double-edge sword for him.”

Casey likens Bayless to Chauncey Billups, who was knocked for not being a true point guard and bounced around the league (including a stint with the Raptors) before becoming a star. He hopes Bayless can follow Billups’ template.

- Neither DeRozan nor Casey were considered that he only attempted six shots. DeRozan said the double team was coming so he was looking to set up his teammates. With Bayless now in charge and Andrea Bargnani just back (Bargnani had his best game since his return), it is tough to get everyone rolling at the same time. As it is, the Raptors had 25 assists and shot 50%, so they didn’t much need DeRozan to score. Expect twice as many shot attempts for DeRozan in New Jersey tonight.

- More good minutes from Aaron Gray, Amir Johnson continues to sizzle and Ed Davis had extra bounce again.

Some quotes:

Dwane Casey:

“We got back to a defensive focus tonight.

Still a work in progress. A lot of things we did good, a lot of things we still need to improve on.

He’s (Bayless) the head of the snake, the defence starts with him. He did a good job of staying in front. Our bigs did a good job of showing. Giving a solid wall.”

DeMar DeRozan:

“It don’t really matter tonight, we got the win. I was just trying to facilitate the ball. Concentrate on defence. I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.

I understand that they’re going to double-team me, so every time I saw it I just tried to pass it, get a better shot.

It paid off for us tonight.

Jerryd Bayless:

Just tryng to keep the pressure on them. They were pinned back at first. We just kept the pressure on them. If we can make him take tough shots, hopefully his percentages will start to drop. He’s a good player sooner or later he’ll have a good game against us.

He plays against good guys every night, I don’t think anything I did really affected him.

My main focus tonight was trying to get Andrea going. He played great tonight.

Looking for him. I told him before the game I was looking for him. I know how good Andrea is and everybody knows how good Andrea is. Just try to get it to him in his spots and that’s what I was trying to do.”

 

 

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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