Neg­a­tive noise

After back to back blowout losses, DeRozan can’t wait to re­deem him­self

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY LORI EWING

“I told them this morn­ing, it’s about the 15 men in this room. Don’t lis­ten to the noise, the noise is go­ing to be there good and bad. When you win ev­ery­body is blow­ing smoke and when it’s bad ev­ery­body is blow­ing smoke.”

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey

The morn­ing after one of the worst losses of his NBA ca­reer, DeMar DeRozan couldn’t wait to face Cleve­land again.

The Raptors’ lead­ing scorer had just five points in Toronto’s 125-103 blowout loss to the Cava­liers on Wed­nes­day, and he still wore the frus­tra­tion from his puz­zling per­for­mance after Thurs­day’s prac­tice at Bios­teel Cen­tre.

“The thing that sucks the most is the idle time (be­tween games),” DeRozan said. “That’s the most frus­trat­ing part is just try­ing to keep the pa­tience, and play and just get this feel­ing off us. That’s the crap­pi­est part about it. Just can’t wait to get out there to re­deem your­self.”

Does he wish they’d played again Thurs­day?

“Yes, that would have been help­ful,” DeRozan said.

DeRozan went with­out a field goal in a blowout loss to Mil­wau­kee in the open­ing round, but bounced back with a vengeance, scor­ing 32 points in the se­ries-clinch­ing Game 6.

But he’s had five ca­reer play­off games with fewer than 10 points in his ca­reer, and the Raptors have lost all five.

So­cial media hasn’t been kind to DeRozan and the Raptors this week. It’s rem­i­nis­cent, he said, of last sea­son’s Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nals when the Raptors were routed in the first two games to Cleve­land and were all but writ­ten off be­fore re­bound­ing to win two games at home.

“Just to have that feel­ing again, peo­ple count­ing you out, what­ever neg­a­tive comes with los­ing, be­ing down two games, that def­i­nitely sucks and it’s some­thing that we’re gonna have to use to­mor­row night,” DeRozan said.

He tries to tune out the neg­a­tive noise.

“For sure. But you can’t turn on the TV or look on noth­ing so­cially with­out see­ing all the crit­i­cism or ques­tion­ing this or what­ever some­body may think,” DeRozan said. “At the end of the day, we’re all hu­man, ev­ery­body see things and may get text mes­sages, what­ever comes with it, it’s part of the game. But like I said, it’s all a mat­ter of how we re­spond to it, the good and the bad.”

Wed­nes­day’s loss was Toronto’s fifth straight post-sea­son rout in Cleve­land. They’ve lost by an av­er­age of 24.2 points.

DeRozan said the Raptors’ hor­ri­ble per­for­mance in both games was much tougher to stom­ach than the fact they’re down 2-0 in the se­ries.

“At least give our­selves a chance to be in the game,” DeRozan said. “If we win we win, if we lose we lose and we un­der­stand what we’ve got to do if it’s a close game, go­ing down the stretch. But los­ing that way, it’s def­i­nitely de­flat­ing.”

While they’re happy to be back home, there was more bad news for Toronto on Thurs­day. Kyle Lowry didn’t prac­tise due to his sprained left an­kle, and is ques­tion­able for Game 3 tonight.

With al­most two days of neg­a­tive noise be­fore the Raptors get back on the court coach Dwane Casey in­structed his team to ig­nore it.

“I told them this morn­ing, it’s about the 15 men in this room,” Casey said. “Don’t lis­ten to the noise, the noise is go­ing to be there good and bad. When you win ev­ery­body is blow­ing smoke and when it’s bad ev­ery­body is blow­ing smoke.

“You’ve got to make sure that you un­der­stand what the mo­ment is, what we need to do de­fen­sively and of­fen­sively and it’s con­cern­ing only about the 15 peo­ple in the room. We’re com­ing home, let’s take care of home. We’ve been in this situation be­fore. We’ve got to go out and phys­i­cally and men­tally do it.”

Game 4 is Sunday at the Air Canada Cen­tre. A Game 5, if needed, would be Tues­day in Cleve­land.


Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan (left) drives past Cleve­land Cava­liers’ J.R. Smith dur­ing Game 2 of a sec­ond-round NBA play­off se­ries Wed­nes­day in Cleve­land.

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