(Sports Network) - Third-quarter woes have plagued the Cleveland Cavaliers the
last few games, prompting All-Star guard Kyrie Irving to say the team needs to
find a rhythm coming out at halftime.
Irving will have a chance to see if his words set in with his teammates when
the Cavaliers visit the Toronto Raptors Sunday at Air Canada Centre.
The Cavs have been outscored in the third quarter in each of the last three
games against New York (21-13), Utah (25-19) and Memphis (32-18). In Friday's
103-92 loss to the Grizzlies on their own floor, the Cavs were led by Irving's
game-high 24 points. Irving was originally doubtful prior to the game because
of an undisclosed illness.
Irving talked with the media following Cleveland's third loss in four tries.
"We just gotta find a rhythm in the third quarter that's got us the lead
in the first two quarters," Irving said. "And we have to continue with that
coming out at halftime. We gotta continue to execute. We failed to do that on
It was actually three.
C.J. Miles had 13 points and Tristan Thompson recorded a double-double with 10
points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who played again without Daniel
Gibson (illness) and rookie Dion Waiters added three points in just over 20
minutes. Waiters had missed two in a row with the flu.
Cavs coach Byron Scott said Waiters is doing fine and the first-year player
looked good in practice. Scott's also been pleased with Thompson's effort this
season and believes the 6-9 forward should be in consideration for Most
Improved Player. Scott has a lot of faith in Thompson, especially after
watching the hard work he put in during the summer.
Scott's remedy for the recent third-quarter relapses is substituting earlier.
He won't, however, change the gameplan.
The Cavs will try to push their road win total to double digits (9-22) Sunday
and will return home for Tuesday's matchup with Washington.
Toronto is back in the Great White North following a four-game western trek
(1-3). The Raptors closed out the swing Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers
and suffered a tough 118-116 overtime loss.
Lakers star Kobe Bryant hit tough shots down the stretch in regulation and his
dunk with about 10 seconds to go in overtime put Toronto to rest. Raptors
forward Rudy Gay said it's tough to guard Bryant when he's in the zone. The
five-time champion burned the Raptors for 41 points.
"He just plays smart, he played smart tonight," Gay said of Bryant. "(He) took
advantage of our defensive coverages. We haven't done anything he hasn't seen
Gay ended up with 17 points on just 7-of-26 shooting. Raptors coach Dwane
Casey said he let Gay be aggressive and thought he had some good looks. Gay
was asked if he liked his shots and simply stated he doesn't "like to miss."
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 28 points and was more efficient from the floor
by going 12-of-18. Kyle Lowry had 15 points and 10 assists, and owns three
double-doubles in that past four games.
The Raptors, who dropped to 2-7 in OT this season, have lost six of seven
games and will play 18 of their final 19 games against the East. On the injury
front, forward Andrea Bargnani is listed as day-to-day with a right elbow
issue and exited the Lakers game in the first quarter. Toronto could use their
big man down low Sunday and have scored 40-plus points in the paint the past
Toronto has lost two of three meetings with Cleveland this season, but is a
decent 6-4 in the last 10 matchups. DeRozan is averaging 21.7 ppg in three
games against the Cavaliers in 2012-13.
The Sports Network