Raps look to bounce back in Cleveland

A stronger, healthier Rudy Gay is promising better things in his second season as a Raptor. Frank Gunn/CP
February 27, 2013, 11:35 AM

The Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to be without Kyrie Irving on Wednesday night when they host the Toronto Raptors but that doesn’t mean they will be an easy out.

The All-Star point guard did not play on Tuesday night because of a sore knee but the short-handed Cavaliers went on the road to Chicago and won anyways.

The Cavaliers have announced that Irving will not be active against the Raptors Wednesday night.

Programming note: Watch the Raptors battle the Cavaliers live on Sportsnet beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.

Here are a few other thoughts to consider ahead of tonight’s game:

A wake-up call?

The Raptors can ill afford to suffer another defeat like Monday’s loss to the Washington Wizards.

The team currently site five games out of the final playoff spot but the window to close the gap inches further to being closed by the day as Toronto only has 25 games remaining.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey realizes his team needs to come out with a sense of urgency in Cleveland on Wednesday night.

“We have to come out made and desperate,” Casey told the Toronto Sun’s Frank Zicarelli. “We have to come out with that hit-first approach.

“We can’t get back on our heels and let Cleveland attack us. We have to be the aggressors and it’s not asking guys to do anything they haven’t done. We did it against Indy, Memphis and New York.

“It’s something we can’t let slip.”

Gay leading the way

While Rudy Gay became the Raptors go-to guy the moment he joined the team, being one of the team’s veteran players will also let him take on a leadership role.
On Monday, he had his worst outing as a member of the Raptors when he shot 1-11 from the field and committed five turnovers.

At Tuesday’s practice, Gay had a few words for his teammates ahead of the Cleveland game as he tries to help all of the players to get on the same page.

“We’ve just got to, no matter what, whether it’s practice or a game, we just have to really be the same way,” Gay told Sportsnet.ca’s Holly Mackenzie. “That’s how good teams get good, by being the same way every day. It’s learned behaviour. It’s not just something you get by putting a team together.”

Casey hopes that Gay’s experiences in Memphis with the Grizzlies will help his team understand what it takes to win.

“He’s been through the process,” Casey said. “They started out in Memphis where we are as far as the building part of the program … he’s seen this growth and the building process and how hard it is.”


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