Raptors Report: Kyle Lowry Nearly Leads Toronto Past Cleveland

Nov 15, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 121-117. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 121-117. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

In a playoff-like atmosphere, Kyle Lowry nearly led the Toronto Raptors (7-3) to an upset victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers (9-1) at Quicken Loans Arena, but the team ultimately fell short, 121-117.


Thoughts and Observations

  • The Toronto Raptors lost a close, but winnable game to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Kyle Lowry easily put together his best performance of the season and his ability to push the pace or control the game in a halfcourt set was vital to the Raptors’ success.
  • As usual, the officials were highly criticized throughout the game. Both fan bases were not pleased with the whistles, but, if we’re honest with ourselves, the Raptors got a few calls and the Cavs got a few calls. It wasn’t as lopsided as either fan base tries to make it seem. However, if I’m going to be a bias Raptors’ fan for a second, DeRozan endured his fair share of contact while driving to the rim, and

    Jonas Valanciunas

    took a beating under the glass, particularly in the fourth quarter. I’m not going to say the officials determined the outcome of this game, but there were certainly a few moments both fan bases can cite to justify their complaints.

    More from Tip of the Tower

  • DeRozan put together a very “Kobe-like” night, finishing with 26 points on 27 shots. DeKobe DeBryant jokes aside, it was a typical DeRozan night that Toronto fans have grown accustomed to over the years. He started hot, draining his first three shots, and the quickly cooled off, making two of his nine shots to close the first half. He was up-and-down during the second half too, but Lowry and Terrence Ross were there to pick up the slack.
  • Speaking of Ross, please tell me I’m not the only one who enjoys watching him go full gunner mode this season and having the utmost confidence in his three point shot? He’s been a lot of fun to watch this season and has actually been a pleasant surprise.

  • With DeMarre Carroll sitting out to rest, we once again saw Norman Powell start for the Raptors. After guarding Carmelo Anthony on Saturday, Powell was handed the task of guarding, or at least try to slow down, LeBron James. I won’t go into detail here, but James dominated Powell — plain and simple. King James took Norm baseline, worked him on and off screens, and did just about whatever he saw fit. Powell is still a solid defender, don’t get me wrong, but James definitely taught him a thing or two on Tuesday night, that’s for sure.
  • DeRozan took a crack at guarding LeBron in relief of Powell, which worked for the start of the third quarter, but James eventually adjusted and had his with DeRozan too. Athletically, DeRozan can hang with LeBron in most situations, but when it comes to the post, LeBron is a different beast. Again, this isn’t me trying to criticize Powell or DeRozan defensively, maybe Derozan a bit, but it’s more of a testament to just how great LeBron is.

    On another DeRozan related note, his streak of 30 points or more in consecutive games is now over.

  • Neither team played much defence in this game, and at times it looked like it was optional, but the Raptors had difficulty defending the high pick-and-roll. JV got caught a few times in high PnR situations and it burned Toronto, particularly late in the fourth quarter when Channing Frye hit that impressive three over Kyle Lowry with 59 seconds left. JV is capable of keeping up or challenging guards, but the question is whether he can do it on a consistent basis. When Frye was on the floor last night, JV struggled.
  • Can Patrick Patterson make an open look? His shot is off right now and it really showed when he missed a layup late in the third quarter. Although his shooting stroke is off, P-Patt continues to play well defensively.
  • The Raptors are a good challenge for the Cavs, but, even with DeRozan playing well, Toronto needs to add another weapon if they are going to seriously compete with Cleveland. An upgrade at the power forward position would be helpful, but aside from

    Danilo Gallinari

    , who is in the last year of his contract, I don’t know if there is an upgrade available. Yes,

    DeMarcus Cousins

    would solve everything, but let’s be realistic here, Boogie isn’t going anywhere unless the team is willing to trade an obscene amount for him. In other words, a trade to the Raptors is extremely unlikely.

    RBX (Raptors Bandwagon Exchange)

    • Buy: Give me all the T-Ross stock out there. He finally has confidence in his jumper and he is a legitimate gunner that can fill the cup up off the bench for the Raptors. I understand some fans want to see Ross play like this for a consistent period of time, but I’ll take the gamble and buy his stock while it’s still reasonably priced.
    • Sell: Can I double back on buying Lucas Noguiera stock? I think I was a bit premature with that declaration after last game. In nine minutes of burn on Tuesday, Bebe managed to rack up a whopping five fouls… Needless to say, he still needs some work
    1. LeBron James: is there anything he can’t do on the court? Seriously?
    2. Kyle Lowry: easily his best game of the season and he was extremely productive for the Raptors on both ends of the floor.
    3. Terrence Ross: he scored 18 points off the bench in 25 minutes of play and went four-of-seven from behind the arc. Is it too soon to throw Ross’ name in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation?

    Statline of the Night

    Eight and 68

    The Raptors continued their habit of taking care of the ball, as they only had eight turnovers against the Cavaliers. They did, however, only shot 68 percent (12-of-18) from the free throw line. DeRozan uncharacteristically shot 50 percent (4-of-8) from the charity stripe, although I wouldn’t expect that too continue, while the Cavs finished the night shooting 71.4 percent (20-of-28) from the line.

    What’s Next

    The Raptors will head home to take on the Golden State Warriors (8-2) Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. Playing the Cavaliers and Warriors on back-to-back nights is easily one of the most difficult tasks in the NBA, but it’s a great test for Toronto and will tell us a lot about where this team is at early in the season.

    For those heading to the game, it’s OVO night on Wednesday meaning everyone’s favourite global ambassador, Drake, will be in attendance! Past OVO nights have been filled with giveaways and victories (the Raptors are 3-0 on OVO nights), so I’m sure fans will be in for an entertaining night.

    Next: DeMar DeRozan, the Mid-Range Dynamo

    What did you think of the Raptors 121-117 loss to the Cavaliers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.