We don't need to rehash it (again), but the Raptors are hoping for a better result tonight than they had in Game 1 against the Cavaliers. Given the blow out nature of the opening game, and the much needed rest day, the feeling at shootaround was that while some adjustments will be necessary, it was also good to get some perspective.
(Much thanks to Josh Lewenberg from TSN for the on-the-ground reporting work here, with the assist from the Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat and Sportsnet's Michael Grange. Not all of us get the pleasure of weekday trips to Cleveland.)
Here's Kyle Lowry (and DeMar DeRozan) on what they've been up to over the past day and a bit:
Outside of practice Lowry said he didnt leave room yesterday, DeRozan went to the zoo w/ his daughter. Both called it a much needed rest day— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
Lowry on off-day: I dont know what everybody else needed but I needed it. I needed the rest & relaxation, to think about the game & not play— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
So, all right, you needed the rest, but how do you feel, Kyle?
Lowry: "We're confident in general... This is a brand new game. It's 0-0 on the scoreboard and that's what we've got to work with."— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
Confronted with a bunch of matchup issues in Game 1, it falls to coach Dwane Casey to figure out how to maximize the players he's got. We know Jonas Valanciunas will not be playing, but where does that leave the rest of the rotation?
Casey will look to manage minutes/rotation a bit differently tonight in the hopes of sparking 2nd unit & replicating its reg season success— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
And more specifically, on Cory Joseph:
Casey on Joseph: 'He's not playing instinctively, the way he normally plays. He's thinking way too much. He's just got to go out and play"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
Casey on Joseph: "He's on target to be an excellent player... We love him, he's just going through something... We still believe in Cory"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016
Overall, it's not much to go on. The Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat predicts more Norman Powell and Luis Scola tonight, but other than that, we'll have to wait and see how Casey decides to shuffle minutes around.
One thing is clear though:
Casey said Raptors played one of their worst games of the post-season against a Cavs team playing at a championship level.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) May 19, 2016
Now let's leave on a high note, courtesy of my favourite team spokesman Bismack Biyombo:
Bismack Biyombo: "The sun is always going to come out no matter how long the night is. It's a new day for us and we're all excited about it"— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 19, 2016