Quick thoughts on Cavs’ 103-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors
(Marla Ridenour subbing for Jason Lloyd)
The Cavs got 39 points and 21 rebounds out of four bench players (Wayne Ellington 13-3, Marreese Speights 11-9, C.J. Miles 10-2 and Luke Walton 5-7). Walton tied a season-high in assists (a team-high 7) and rebounds.
In contrast, the Raptors bench got eight points and two rebounds out of six players.
Shaun Livingston is proving more than capable starting at point guard in place of Kyrie Irving. Livingston tied his season-high in points (15) and assists (6).
Asked why Livingston has thrived with the Cavs since signing as a free agent on Dec. 25, Scott joked before the game, “It’s the coaching.”
“I’ve always been very intrigued with Shaun,” Scott said. “I’ve always loved his length, the way he can handle the ball, the way he can pass it, his demeanor on the court. He just seems to fit into our system extremely well. I
“He’s as healthy as he’s been since he’s been in this league. When he was with Milwaukee last year I talked to him and he said he was finally healthy. That has a lot to do with it as well.”
Pardon my NBA ignorance, but I’m adding Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan to my list of best players I’ve never heard of. DeRozan poured in 34 points (on 10 of 19 field goals and 14 of 15 free throws) and added five rebounds. Last year that distinction went to Orlando’s Ryan Anderson.
The Cavs have scored 100-plus points in five straight games and in nine of their last 11. In that span, they are averaging 107.1 points and shooting 48 percent from the field. In that same span, they are averaging 24.1 assists to 11.4 turnovers.
Tristan Thompson continues to blossom in year two. In his past two games, he’s averaging 15 points, shooting 55.6 percent, 3.5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block in 33 minutes.
Ellington has scored in double figures in nine of his 15 games as a Cav.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey is trying to keep his team in the playoff race.
“The second quarter killed us. We decided to play defensive in the second half and it’s too late. You give up a 37-point quarter (the Cavs’ second) and with what we are playing for, it’s just too many points. I thought in the second half we battled, scratched and clawed, but when you build yourself such a hole against a talented team like that, it’s hard to get it back.”
Byron Scott on the Cavs’ 7-5 record in February: “We let a couple get away, we probably stole one or two as well.”
The Cavs hit 30 of 32 (.938) from the free throw line. The last time they made 30 while shooting at least .938 was Nov. 19, 2010 against New Orleans when they hit 32 of 34 (.941).
“They’ve got a board on the ball that says your percentage and if you’re not hitting your mark you’ve got to make a certain amount every day. Guys have been focusing in on making free throws and doing a heckuva job the last few months.”
When suggested that even Thompson had improved, Scott said, “He came up to me in the room and said he’s good in the crunch. He’s like Shaq, he makes ‘em when he has to, I guess.”
Thompson hit on all six attempts, including a bonus attempt with 13.7 seconds to go.
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