Published: May 24, 2016
TORONTO: Twenty-six thoughts for 26 points from Kyrie Irving in Monday’s 105-99 loss to the Toronto Raptors, evening the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2…
1. All of the problems that plagued the Cavs throughout the regular season have returned at an inopportune time. That 10-game winning streak to start the postseason is gone, replaced by a team that can’t defend, can’t consistently make open 3-pointers and can’t get much production out of Kevin Love.
2. There is still time to fix this. The Cavs are going home with the series tied and still hold home-court advantage. But the pitiful defensive effort displayed in the first half, coupled with the inability to make open shots has made this series far more interesting than it appeared to be when the Raptors were blown out by a combined 50 points in the first two games.
3. “It’s a series now,” Love said. “Gotta go out and get the next one.”
4. Love shot 9-of-29 (31 percent) during the two games in Toronto. LeBron James loves to call this “a make or miss league” and in that regard, this should provide the Cavs hope.
5. They were 7-of-21 on wide open shots Monday, when the closest defender wasn’t within 6 feet. James and Love combined to go 3-of-10 on those. One of the adjustments the Raptors made after the first two games is a comfort in leaving Love and LeBron open on the perimeter in an effort to close off the lane.
6. In Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, they stayed glued to Love around the 3-point line. He acknowledged he was content to stay out there and not force his way inside, since it meant dragging a big out of the lane. But in the two games in Toronto, Love took 11 shots without a defender within 6 feet of him. He has only made two.
7. “I had a lot of great shots, just didn’t knock them down,” Love said. “It’s as simple as that. Had a lot of great, wide open 3s, especially in that first quarter. Just a number of them went in and out. Just have to continue to stay aggressive.”
8. Love pointed out he didn’t go to the free-throw line in either game in this series. He took a hard blow to his left shoulder late in Game 2, but insisted after that game he felt fine and reiterated that again tonight when I asked him if the shoulder is bothering him. He said no, that he didn’t feel great during Game 3 but that it had nothing to do with the shoulder and he felt good entering Game 4.
9. Love hurt his knee late in the third quarter when he stepped on an official’s foot. He didn’t play in the fourth – the second time in as many games he sat out the fourth – but the knee seemed to be the culprit this time. Whether or not he would’ve played if he was healthy will never be known. He expected the knee to be sore Tuesday, but plans on playing in Game 5.
10. James, meanwhile, is 2-of-6 in the last two games with no defender near him. Put those two together and they’re 4-of-17 on wide open shots in the last two games. As long as they continue to miss, the Raptors will be happy to leave them out there.
11. The Cavs 3-point shooting is officially in chill mode. After they averaged 19 3-pointers and shot better than 50 percent in the sweep of the Hawks, the Cavs are shooting 33 percent and averaging 10.3 in this series.
12. After a dreadful 3-of-14 start from the 3-point line in the first quarter, the Cavs finally moved away from it and started attacking inside. By then the missed shots, coupled with their abysmal defense, had created an 18-point lead for the Raptors in the second quarter.
13. “At the end of the day, you can’t just sit out there and start jacking,” Channing Frye said. “We have to establish ourselves and continue to attack that rack and not just settle for the 3-ball. Make sure we get to the bonus, get to the line and that 3-ball is going to open up.”
14. Coach Tyronn Lue altered his rotation in Game 3, inserting Frye likely in an effort to clear out the lane a bit. Then he had to go away from the Cavs’ second unit lineup early in the second quarter early than usual because they just weren’t effective. The Cavs trailed 27-24 despite a poor first quarter, but the deficit swelled to double figures within a few minutes.
15. James hinted Monday morning he was going to alter his style. He said he had his own game plan for the night, but didn’t appear to play much different than he has at any other point in this series.
16. I thought perhaps he would take the ball from Kyrie Irving and initiate a bit more, since Lue hinted at that after the offense struggled in Game 3. But James remained patient, leaving the ball in Irving’s hands and trying to play through Love as much as possible. As for the mysterious game plan he had, James said he succeeded in how he wanted to play despite the result.
17. “I think I played to the game plan that I wanted to play, both offensively and defensively,” he said. “I felt great. Tried to get my guys involved, get myself involved. My individual game plan was pretty good.”
18. What isn’t good right now is the Cavs’ defense, particularly in the backcourt. Kyle Lowry scored 35 points and DeMar DeRozan scored 32 on a night the Raptors shot 54 percent. Patrick Patterson and Bismack Biyombo also corralled huge offensive rebounds in the final two minutes that both times led to baskets for the Raptors.
19. Asked what was happening defensively, Frye said bluntly, “Obviously nothing. They shot 54 percent. We’ve just got to look at the film and do better. That’s some bulls---.”
20. The Raptors went nearly a full game without shooting a free throw, from late in the third quarter of Game 3 until midway through the third quarter of Game 4. And while Raptors coach Dwane Casey was fined for criticizing the officials after Game 3, the Raptors’ lack of free throws is more of an indictment on the Cavs’ lousy defense than the officiating. The Raptors were attacking the basket with little resistance on Monday.
21. James started out on DeRozan, just as he finished on DeRozan in Game 3. But the Cavs switch a lot of pick-and-rolls on defense and the Raptors were able to get James off DeRozan running pick-and-rolls. DeRozan scored 32 points in each of the games at Air Canada Centre
22. “Tip your hat to DeMar and Kyle. They did a great job. They’re All-Stars for a reason,” James said. “That’s why they’re here today. They’ve carried this team all season. But even at the end of the day, as well as they played, we still had a chance. We still had a chance to win the ballgame. That’s all you can ask for. But what we can’t do is dig ourselves the hole that we did in the first half.”
23. The Cavs scored on 14 consecutive possessions in the second half running almost the same play over and over with James in the post. The Raptors stopped it once and the Cavs went away from it.
24. This series is going at least six games now. Talk of a sweep or an easy road to the Finals is long, long gone. Neither of these teams has won on the other’s floor this season – whether the regular season or the playoffs. The Cavs have beaten the Raptors three times at Quicken Loans Arena by double figures.
25. “We’re in the Eastern Conference finals. They were second in the East. We weren’t saying they were bad,” Frye said. “I told you from the get-go we had to have confidence and we still do. They did their job, they took care of business and they’re a good team. That’s a great home crowd, they fed off that and they made some tough shots.”
26. Game 5 is Wednesday at the Q. Talk to you then.
[ 此帖被peekaboo72在2016-05-24 20:31修改 ]