#1 ar he wouldnt be putting in the work i von carrie201918 25.05.2019 09:21

CLEVELAND - As the old saying goes, if you play with fire, youre going to get burned. Dwane Casey, who has used the phrase as a cautionary tale after lethargic starts of the recent past, came just short of saying I told you so Tuesday evening. His team had been getting away with it, far more often than any team should. Yes, theyre a resilient bunch and that was the case again in Cleveland as they clawed back from a 21-point deficit - even taking a brief fourth-quarter lead - but its been masking the underlying issue. Theyre an open-faced sandwich, missing the top bun. "You cant play in this league that way and expect to come back each and every night," Casey said after Torontos 102-100 loss to the Cavaliers. "Its bit us more than weve won, it feels like." "Until we fix that, among us, among ourselves, then its going to be an uphill battle every night." For the second time in three days, the Raptors trailed by nine after the first quarter, allowing another team with a losing record, also missing their best player, to shoot above 52 per cent to open the game. The start was eerily similar to Sundays, at home to Atlanta, lacking effort, focus and purpose on both ends of the floor. Even without injured point guard Kyrie Irving, Cleveland killed the visiting Raptors with speed and precision, exposing a reoccurring hole in their interior defence by darting into the paint at will. The comeback was inevitable. Its what they do. Down by 21 early in the third, Toronto staged a 21-9 run to close out the quarter. Kyle Lowry - running back and forth from the locker room all night, battling an upset stomach - scored half of his team-high 22 points in the frame. Greivis Vasquez would give the Raptors their first lead since the opening minutes, draining a three-pointer midway through the fourth before reality set in. "I think everybodys energy was low from having to come back," Lowry said. From that moment on they hit just one of their final 10 shots and on the last possession, down only two, they failed to even get one off. It was a play they had just run with success. Amir Johnson was looking for Lowry to turn the corner, but he was cut off. Instead, Vasquez took the handoff and, trying to spin right, towards the bucket, he lost his footing. "It was me going to my weak hand and I lost my balance, stepped kind of weird," said Vasquez, who scored 16 points of Torontos bench. "I turned the ball over. Ill take responsibility. Im not going to run away. Im a man." A noble gesture but, as Casey pointed out, its not the reason for the loss. "Thats not the game-decider," the Raptors coach said. "The game was decided the way we approached the first quarter." "Its easy to get up for OKC, its easy to get up for Miami, its easy to get up for Indiana but the teams that are not in the playoff picture, they are playing for something, too," he continued. "Theyre playing for pride, which is probably a little bit more dangerous than guys trying to save minutes and save themselves for the playoffs." Theres a lesson to be learned from this loss and it shouldnt take long to figure out whether or not its been absorbed. The Raptors - now the Easts fourth seed, leapfrogged by the Bulls with Tuesdays defeat - will travel to Boston in the second night of a back-to-back and first game of a home-and-home set with the Celtics, another scrappy team looking to play spoiler. "Weve got to get the mindset of being the hunter instead of the hunted because," Casey added. "Thats how we got where we are, being a desperate team, a hungry team and not believing the press clippings or where we are in the standings." Birthday blues Although Lowry would have preferred to celebrate his 28th birthday with a win, the Raptors point guard recorded his 18th double-double with 10 assists to go along with his 22 points. Lowry extended his career-high streak of 19 or more points to 10 games and also became the first Raptor to score 20-plus in eight straight since Chris Bosh did so in 2010. Amir passes VC on blocks list With his third-quarter swat on Spencer Hawes, Johnson recorded his 416th block as a member of the Raptors, passing Vince Carter for second on the teams all-time block shots list. Johnson, who had 12 points and nine rebounds on Tuesday, still has a ways to go to catch Bosh, topping the franchise list with 600 blocks. Patterson nearing a return Patrick Patterson, who has missed 10 straight games with an ulnar collateral sprain in his right elbow, was reassessed on Monday and is headlong well, the team revealed before Tuesdays game in Cleveland. Although hes been cleared for contact, theres still no timetable for his return to game action. "Its a lot up to the medical staff and when they feel he can go," Casey said. "Its one of those things where if he gets hit in the wrong way it could be trouble for a lot longer so thats why they want to make sure its well enough." The stat The Raptors fell just short of matching their largest comeback of the season. They last overcame a 21-point deficit in their home win over Dallas on Jan. 22. Toronto hasnt had multiple wins in which theyve trailed by 20 or more points in the same season since 2004-05. The quote "Weve just got to understand what were playing for," Vasquez said. "Weve got a big one tomorrow [in Boston]. Its a must-win because were actually playing for something. If you dont get up for that youve got to get your gas up. Weve just got to be motivated, man. This is crunch time. This is important for us. Tomorrows a must-win, no matter what. No excuses." Next up for Michael Phelps comeback: Two events that produced Olympic gold. Phelps has entered the 100-meter butterfly and the 200 freestyle at the Charlotte Grand Prix meet in North Carolina next week, his coach, Bob Bowman, told The Associated Press on Monday night. With both events on May 16, Bowman can stick to the plan of building up Phelps endurance while staying away, at least for now, from the grueling, multi-day programs that were once the norm for Phelps. There will be morning preliminaries and evening finals, though the coach said hes not yet certain Phelps will actually compete in both races. Phelps returned to competitive swimming at a meet in Arizona less than two weeks ago, his first since retiring after the 2012 London Games as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. He is the three-time defending Olympic champion in the 100 fly, so its obvious that race would be part of any plans to compete at the Rio Games. He won the 200 free at the 2008 Beijing Games -- during his record eight-gold performance -- but dropped the event in London. Phelps also competed in two events at the Mesa Grand Prix, finishing second to longtime rival Ryan Lochte in the 100 fly and matching the fourth-fastest time in the world this year. The other event, the 50 freestyle, wassnt nearly as serious.dddddddddddd That race has never been part of Phelps program at a major meet, and he even used his preliminary heat to work on his butterfly stroke. Not surprisingly, he finished 42nd overall against swimmers who were using the much faster freestyle. Still, it was a good starting point for what the Phelps camp is describing as a low-key comeback. "We were encouraged by his performances in Mesa and look forward to trying a 200 in Charlotte," Bowman said in a text message. Phelps has also put his name in for the final Grand Prix meet of the season in Santa Clara, California, next month, though he is taking the comeback one step at a time and not committing to any long-term goals. Still, its clear he wouldnt be putting in the work if the 2016 Olympics were not his primary focus. Phelps has already competed in four Summer Games, winning 18 golds and 22 medals overall. The Grand Prix schedule provides tuneups for the U.S. national championships in August, where spots will be earned for the Pan Pacific Championships later that month and next years world championships in Kazan, Russia -- an important steppingstone for the Olympics. After the Charlotte meet, Phelps will head to Colorado for high-altitude training beginning May 27. 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