Led by Jakob Poetl's seven rebounds and three blocks in the opening 24 minutes, Toronto's bench players put the Cavaliers to the sword in the early-going and kept the pressure on for the duration of the game. They led by 22 points after one quarter, 14 at halftime, and by six with 3:57 left in the game.
Hard to know how to interpret that one. This year's squad has had problems with defensive effort, one aspect that can certainly improve when their general interest in games is piqued.
Over the last few weeks we've heard whispers that the Cavs were interested in DeAndre Jordan and could dangle Tristan Thompson in the right deal. The Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 110.2 points on 47.5 percent shooting and allowing 108.2 points on 47.1 percent shooting.
So for Cleveland, that game plan made sense, and it was executed well. But after another blowout loss Thursday night against the new-look Raptors, Cleveland looks vulnerable, their crown starting to slide off a touch.The real question is whether any East team is able to take advantage. What Cleveland found out last night though is that this isn't that team anymore.
DeRozan said the team was shell-shocked without Lowry against Miami, but figured things out from that debacle and used it against Cleveland.
More importantly than their ability to shoulder the load though is that DeRozan last night demonstrated the trust in his teammates to do so, and he ran that perfectly last night, passing out of double teams and trusting his teammates to get it done. I didn't know if I was ready or not. "Two different styles that they play with".
However, Wojnarowski said the Cavaliers are willing to part ways with the Nets' pick if they can acquire a "big-time difference-maker" who can help them return to the finals this year.
That said, the narratives aren't completely wrong, the Raptors do need to showcase this in the playoffs.
But at least in the finale they had a chance to win. So right now, yeah, things are messy. Eastern Conference and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games overall. In the moments after, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey immediately pointed to the large disparity in 3-point shooting between the two teams, speaking about trying to evolve in the summer.Change was necessary.