Too much re­spect

Casey: Cava­liers are hu­man, they put their ‘pants on one leg at a time’

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Dwane Casey wants his play­ers to stop giv­ing Le­Bron James and the Cleve­land Cava­liers so much re­spect.

A day af­ter the Rap­tors were thrashed by Cleve­land in the open­ing game of the East­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals, the coach’s mes­sage to his team Tues­day was sim­ple: the Cavs are hu­man.

“They’re a good team, we know that. But we’re a good team, too, had the same record (51-31),” Casey said. “We have to go in with that con­fi­dence, that feel­ing of un­der­stand­ing say ‘Hey look, they put their pants on one leg at a time, too. One shoe at a time.’ I haven’t seen ‘em jump in and pull them up at the same time.

“So we’ve got to go in with that be­lief, that un­der­stand­ing. And I have a be­lief that we’ll play bet­ter and get to that next gear the next game.”

The Rap­tors bat­tle the Cavs in Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena on tonight be­fore the se­ries heads home to Toronto for Games 3 and 4.

James made like the cruel cat toy­ing with a mouse en route to 35 points and 10 re­bounds on Mon­day night. Whether it was his fake side­line beer-swig­ging, or his al­ley-oop dunk off the back­board, his hi­jinx con­jured im­ages of the Har­lem Glo­be­trot­ters.

Was DeMar DeRozan both­ered by how the Cavs had fun at the Rap­tors ex­pense?

“That’s them, man. Ev­ery team that Le­Bron has been on, they did some type of what­ever,” he said. “We can’t get caught up in that or mak­ing that part of the game. We gotta un­der­stand they we can go out there and con­trol what we con­trol and that’s for us to get a win.”

The dan­ger, said Casey, is when play­ers be­come awestruck by su­per­stars. The

60-year-old coach has seen it be­fore.

“We used to do that with Michael Jor­dan. We used to have to tell Gary Pay­ton (in Seat­tle) and those guys ‘Hey, he puts his pants on one leg.’ . . I think that’s nat­u­ral, it’s hu­man na­ture to watch a Michael Jor­dan or a Karl Malone, spec­tate un­til they hit you in the mouth.

“When a guy hits you in the mouth a few times, now what are you go­ing to do? That’s the men­tal­ity we have to have. They punched us. They won the first game. It didn’t feel good, but it’s a long se­ries.”

The Rap­tors spent Tues­day morn­ing dis­sect­ing video from the 116-105 loss.

Kyle Lowry was asked: did he like any­thing he saw?

“I liked that we had op­por­tu­ni­ties to be bet­ter. That’s what I did like,” Lowry said.

Lowry had the line of the af­ter­noon. When asked if he was happy with his own per­for­mance Mon­day, he replied: “We lost. I’m never happy when we lose. I’m barely happy when we win.”

The three-time all-star had 20 points and 11 as­sists, and was ar­guably the Rap­tors’ most ag­gres­sive player on the night.

Lowry said the Rap­tors didn’t play with the pace they needed in Mon­day night’s track meet.

“When they score, you can’t put your head down,” he said. “You’ve got to get the ball out. You’ve got to run down the floor and not look to get a play call. The play call is sec­ondary. Try to get some­thing easy. Try to get a jump shot or open look quicker or get a layup.

“A lot of things they did, they made a shot, we took our time and it’s just a dif­fi­cult pace to play at when you’re play­ing against a team that can roam and kind of junk up the game de­fen­sively.”

The Rap­tors have made a habit of los­ing se­ries open­ers they’re now a woe­ful 1-12.

AP PHOTO

Cleve­land Cava­liers’ Le­Bron James (right) drives past Toronto Rap­tors’ DeMarre Car­roll in the first half of Game 1 of a sec­ond-round NBA play­off se­ries Mon­day in Cleve­land.

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