We’re less than 24 hours away from tip-off for Game 1 of Raptors-Cavaliers in the second round. The Raptors were back at the microphone today, addressing various matters as they prepared for the imminent arrival of LeBron James and company at the ACC tomorrow. The general takeaway: the Raps believe this will be a series.
First up, Kyle Lowry talked about his preparedness this afternoon, the experience of the Cavaliers and, more specifically, George Hill, and the benefits of rest before the series.
Next we turn things over to the pair of OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam, the primary LeBron stoppers on the Raptors.
First of all, any OG presser is a treat, and I won’t go too much into this clip here — I’m still trying to decide on the best part to include on Wednesday’s Quote of the Week.
Still: does this look like the face and attitude of a man who is in any way, shape, or form, phased by the stature of LeBron James and the Cavaliers collective? “I have no reason to be nervous,” says OG — so yeah, I don’t think so.
Siakam is ready for a battle, acknowledging that watching LeBron on TV is very different from when he decides to bear down on you out on the court. He says he’ll try his best to make it hard for LeBron, which, I mean, good luck and godspeed.
And finally, here comes Dwane Casey to calm things down.
“Everything starts and stops with [LeBron],” says Casey right from the jump, and it really is a statement that says it all. The Raptors have adjusted their entire team philosophy, have indeed selected and developed multiple players, for the specific purpose of stopping LeBron James and his Cavaliers. And here they come now.
(An aside: much respect to Casey for already noting the series is going to by physical, and subtly letting the league’s officials know that he’d like some consistency with the calls — and a little definition as to what does and does not constitute a foul. Kudos, coach.)
Of course, Casey doesn’t believe LeBron is tired, despite the latter’s admission as such after Game 7 against the Pacers. The Raptors have that, and other things working in their favour (rest, depth, home court, etc.), all of which Casey is demure about because, doubly of course, when you go against the best, the odds aren’t usually in your favour — even if, on paper, they should be.
“You’ve gotta go in with a healthy amount of respect and a healthy amount of disrespect,” said Casey. “And [LeBron] will respect that. Jordan respected that, Karl Malone, those guys, Kobe Bryant, those great ones respect you coming at them.”
Not much else to say except: now is the time.