For the second time in three games, the Toronto Raptors took on the Cleveland Cavaliers. And for the third time in three games, they were victorious, defeating the Cavaliers 99-93. The Raptors are now seven games over .500 (32-25) for the first time since 2008!
Post-game coach Dwane Casey continued to acknowledge, as he has done in the past, that the Raptors have to grind out games. Despite the Raptors being 3rd in the East, and 1st in the Atlantic Division, coach still feels the team cannot overestimate any opponent.
“All of our games are grinded out. We’re no where near where we can walk in there and expect to win. I don’t know who anointed us for that, every game is a grind for us. I mean this team has won 6 in a row. You’ve got the MVP all-star [Kyrie]. For us, we’ve got to come in with the attitude of the desperate team, the hungry team every time. Cause we haven’t done anything. We’re on thin ice if we don’t play the game the right way.” Casey said.
The Raptors jumped out to a quick 23-17 lead in the first quarter, but allowed the Cavaliers to get back into the game in the 2nd half and made it a close finish in the 4th. Coach Casey reiterates that the team cannot relax once they get the lead.
“They came out throwing–we’re going to see everybody’s best haymaker. If we don’t come in like we’re the underdog and be hungry when we approach the game, it’s going to be like that. I thought once we got the lead we kind of kept back on our heels and relaxed a little bit. They turned up their aggression and they played desperate,” Casey said. “But we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to play as many minutes in the desperate mode as we can.”
Coach praised Kyle Lowry (13 points (3/15 FG), 5 rebounds, 9 assists), who took a crucial charge on Kyrie Irving with 1:02 left in the game, that helped secure the Raptors’ victory. Despite struggling on the offense all game, Lowry was praised for the philosophy of not letting his offense dictate his defense.
“That was one example of a guy not letting his offense dictate his defense, cause believe me 0-for-9 from 3 and he had some wide open looks and that’s not normally Kyle. But he came in and gave us some charges, was aggressive,” Casey said. “Every time we attacked the rim we got something good, and that’s what he did. Created when his shot wasn’t falling and that was smart on his part.”
The full post-game scrum with Dwane Casey: