Game 72: Raptors at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
They've shot 50 percent or better in three consecutive games, as well as four of the last five. They are averaging 102 points in that five-game span.
Is it just a coincidence that All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving has missed the last five games? I don't know what conclusion to draw from that, other than the ball is moving with Jarrett Jack and Dion Waiters. They combined for 12 of the Cavs' 27 assists on the night.
The Raptors had won three in a row over the Cavs, including both outings this season by a combined 13 points, They dropped to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, yet still sits atop the Atlantic Division.
There's a reason for the banner year. They have talent and depth. They also have a go-to talent in DeMar DeRozan. The All-Star has been defended by Luol Deng in the previous two games.
DeRozan had 33 points in the last matchup, a 99-93 setback for the Cavs on Feb. 25 at The Q. He was almost unstoppable in that game, especially in the pivotal fourth quarter.
He was held to 13 points last night on 5 of 16 attempts.
The Cavs are coming off an emotional six-point victory at New York. Guard Jarrett Jack, who played 92 games for the Raptors in 2009-10 and 2010-11, had his best game of the season with 31 points and 10 assists.
I wanted see how he followed up that monster game. His problem this season has been his consistency. He's never been able to string together three or four good games in a row. That and the fact that he's shooting 41 percent from the field.
He was productive with 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. Since Irving has been sidelined, Jack's numbers have spiked to 16.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Coach Mike Brown must find a way to light a fire under center Spencer Hawes, whose play has been spotty the last few outings. He's not playing with the fire he displayed when he first came to the team.
He finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
Watching guard Matthew Dellavedova as of late has been a joy. He's definitely making his move with the increased minutes he's been getting. In his previous three games, he's averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists. He should be in the Cavs' plans as they move forward.
Coach Brown won his 300th game with the Cavs. He trails only Lenny Wilkens (316) and Bill Fitch (304) in franchise history.
UP NEXT: The Cavs travel to Detroit at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
C Spencer Hawes (7-1, 245) vs. Jonas Valanciunas (6-11, 231)
Raptors - F Patrick Patterson, G Dwight Buycks