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Three things we saw as the Raptors lost Game 5

That was something, wasn’t it?

Not sure what but it was indeed something and we get to do it all over again Friday night. Everyone got enough energy left to get through that one?

And, as is our tradition it seems, this is being typed and sent from the back seat of a car as we motor home to get to practice so forgive the inevitable typos – American highways are crap and way too bumpy – and we’ll just do game stuff so I can get it up and shut it down.

Oh, if you want to do mail, go to and let me know what’s on your mind.

Next stop: The Angola rest area on the New York State thruway.

Out and about

So my good friend Steve Simmons sets the cat among the pigeons with the piece this morning that DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph were out and about in the rather dreadful Cleveland downtown core in the wee hours of Wednesday.

I’m sure it’ll be a thing because we needthings” at this point in the playoffs and the series and I will fully agree that optically it is not good.

And that’s as far as I’m going to go.

Look, professional athletes are not like you and me, they are night owls, they have a lifestyle we cannot even come close to comprehending; they just live differently than you and I.

And if two of them want to go out late the night before the team had an 8:30 p.m. game, I have no issue with it.

There is no suggestion they were imbibing – it was last call about 1:30 a.m. in the places I’ve been in in downtown Cleveland – and no indication anything remotely untoward was going on.

It was a couple of 20-somethings killing some time at a time when they’re basically always awake and they happened to be seen.

Let me ask you this:

Do you think every other player was fast asleep at that time or do you think some of them might have been (a) in some other place where reporters don’t go or (b) in their rooms on computers goofing around? Yeah, one of the latter two, trust me.

And here’s one: We laud players who go back into the gym at 1 a.m. or later to get up shots, a far more physically taxing endeavour than wandering around a club or a casino.

Here’s the simple and undeniable fact and you just have to trust me that it’s true:

Most professional athletes stay up late, they eat late, they sleep late, they nap in afternoons and they know their bodies.

It probably wasn’t the wisest decision to be out among the people at that time but if was a bigger city than dumpy downtown Cleveland, they could have been somewhere no one could see them and no one would be the wiser.

But I’m not gonna climb all over two guys for doing what I imagine they’ve done dozens of times over the course of the season.

Missing the shot

Well, more shots than shots, I suppose.

I’m going to give DeMarre Carroll a bit of a break because I don’t think his elbow is quite right since he’s icing it an awful lot and his ankle’s a bit wonky and he’s not Ray Allen to begin with but his three-point shooting has been borderline atrocious.

I think he’s something like 4-for-22 in the series (I don’t have the cumulative stats in the back seat of this car) and that’s simply not getting it done.

The trouble is, these guys have to be ultra-efficient on offence so the Cavs can’t blitz them in transition as they have in each of their three wins.

The other issue that makes it even worse is that the missed shots tend to yield long rebounds that Toronto has never been good at tracking down, allowing the Cavs to take off with a collective head of steam that Toronto can’t keep up with.

I don’t think Carroll should quit shooting them all together – the threat is something Cleveland has to respect at least a little – but he should probably be thinking about swinging the ball and moving it along more than he has.

The dynamic duo

Okay, maybe not quite dynamic but seeing Jonas Valanciunas and Bismack Biyombo on the court for the first time ever was a bit jarring.

And some grasping at straws by Dwane Casey, who told us after the game that he did it simply to try and stem the tide of Cleveland’s domination on the glass.

I figured the Raptors were in flat-footed trouble when Tristan Thompson got two offensive rebounds in, I think, the first 90 seconds of the game and I believe Cleveland’s first eight points came off second possessions.

So don’t ever expect this to be a regular thing – it didn’t work all that well in a short spurt last night and the Cavs don’t have to cover Biyombo more than 10 feet from the basket which causes all kinds of issues for everyone else on the court.

Toronto’s rebounding last night was atrocious – hell, the entire game was atrocious – and Casey was just searching for something that would work.

It didn’t work particularly well and I wouldn’t imagine we’ll see it again.


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