It is Toronto vs Cleveland this Easter Weekend. It kicked off with a bang yesterday with the Blue Jays and Indians. That is why there was no blog yesterday. I didn't plan on watching a 5 hour long baseball game. the streaking Raptors and the struggling Cavs are not likely to provide as much excitement tonight at the ACC. The Raptors can not say they have dominated much this year. They can legitimately say that about the Cavs beating them in all 3 meetings this season. Tristan Thompson has still yet to experience what it is like to beat his hometown team. He has got to experience what it is like to start in the NBA though since he last saw the Raptors. On March 19th Thompson opened eyes to his potential with a career high 27 points shooting 12-16 from the field and grabbing 12 rebounds. Against the Raptors has only averaged 7.3 points and in his only visit to Toronto had just one point. Kyrie Irving who was selected 1st overall had a very uneventful NBA debut vs the Raptors. Since that time he has been on a steady rise and likely will be taking home the Rookie of the Year award. Against the Raptors he has improved as well with 6 in the opener than 12 and 14 in the latest time they met for an average of 10.6. What both Thompson and Irving never experienced at Texas, Duke or in high school is losing 7 games in a row. The Cavs longest losing streak of the season. There was a time this team was on the edge of the playoff race. However they hit the skids in a major way.
So why have the Raptors been so successful against the Cavs? Well we already mentioned one reason and that would be containing Kyrie Irving fairly well. Jose Calderon seldom matches well with the new rookie point guards that enter this league. This might be the exception to the rule. The secret to the Raptors success becomes very obvious when you look at the three boxscores. The answer is defense as the Raptors in three games have held the Cavs to a 35.1% shooting percentage including a season best 29.4% on January 4th in Toronto at the ACC. The Raptors of late have seen their defense be lacking despite their three wins. Will see if they get back in that frame of mind tonight.
The Raptors should be welcoming Gary Forbes back to the mix tonight. Demar DeRozan left the the last game twisting his left ankle will see what his status will be. This is one of those games that people in the whole tanking mode will point to as key. The Cavs entering play today are 13th in the East and a game and half in front of the Raptors in terms of the 11th place Raptors in the lotto standings. I find it hard to believe the Cavs will want to lose tonight and get swept in the season series. Still if that is the result no one would be upset by it come May. In terms of the Raptors they have ended up right around where I expected them to be this season. They were never going to be as bad as some people were projecting but they were never going to be good enough to contend for the playoffs.
I am going to be down in Toronto to cover this one. I will also be in Toronto on Easter Sunday Night for our party at St Louis Wings on Bay St to take in the Raptors vs OKC. Hope to see many of you come out and have some fun with me on that night.