Those damn Cavs.
After an early season statement win in Cleveland, the title contender Cavaliers racked up two wins against our Raptors in the last seven days.
But it’s how we lost that really stings. At home on Friday, the Dinos seemed content to let the game slowly wind down with no resistance after falling behind early. Yesterday’s loss was the result of a late collapse, getting dominated on the glass, and a 12-0 foul count against us in the final quarter.
And a royal performance from King James.
But we’re also playing without leading scorer and captain DeMar DeRozan and managed wins over the Jazz and Nuggets, so a split this week isn’t reason to panic just yet.
Landry Fields in the starting lineup, on the other hand, is a slight reason for concern.
The Raptors’ three games this week are all very winnable, so a 19-6 record by the time we check back in with you next Wednesday can pretty much be seen as an expectation.
Standing in our way of that goal: a team with players who take pleasure in schooling little girls, the celebrity magnet but otherwise irrelevant Knicks, and a Pacers team hobbled by injuries and a general disdain for winning.
WHO TO WATCH THIS WEEK: LOU WILLIAMS
Ah, sweet Lou.
Despite struggling from the field in last night’s loss to Cleveland, Sixth Man of the Year candidate (our own assertion) Lou Williams has been lighting it up as of late.
Two weeks ago he was named the Eastern Conference player of the week, an honour he followed up by dropping 17 and 26 against Utah and Denver, respectively.
But all is not rosy: Williams scored just 11 points in two games combined in last week’s two losses, and the Raptors will need him to step up in DeMar’s absence when the rest of the team isn’t firing on all cylinders.
So, more of this, please, Captain Lou:
X-FACTOR: LANDRY FIELDS
If there’s reason to believe Steve Nash trade accelerator and on-court version of Drake, Landry Fields will see the court, he deserves mention. And considering he was thrown into the starting lineup last night, we can assume he’ll get a few more chances to contribute something – anything, really – to this team until DeRozan returns from injury.
Expectations are low, so even a few deflected balls here and there would be a welcomed bonus.
OFF THE COURT:
As we’ve mentioned three times already – because it’s pretty vital – DeMar DeRozan is injured and out indefinitely with a torn tendon in his groin. Ouch.
We’ve heard quotes suggesting he could be out of the lineup anywhere from two weeks to two months, which, of course, is the definition of indefinitely. He hasn’t had an amazing year so far, but the Raptors will, and have already shown, to struggle without his leadership and ability to defend bigger wing players.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
— Kate Carter Hickey (@thatgirlcartier) December 5, 2014
Cover image from: Toronto Raptors Facebook