Posts Tagged ‘Dwane Casey’

RAPTORS AT BUCKS, 8:30 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • The last time the Raptors visited Milwaukee, each team had a decidedly different mood. The date was Nov. 2, the Bucks’ home opener. Milwaukee was coming off a rousing victory the night before, coming back from 22 down to beat the Boston Celtics. Each team was 1-1. The Raptors won that night but were still on their way to a 6-12 start. The Bucks would win their next game, then lose 11 straight and be buried at the bottom of the NBA standings the rest of the way. Hours after that game, Bucks center Larry Sanders injured his thumb in a bar fight, costing him eight weeks in what would become a totally lost season. A lot of things went bad for the Bucks since that night. “Yeah, they have. They certainly have,” said Bucks coach Larry Drew. For the Raptors, things went in a positive direction. “We kept getting better,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “I don’t know exactly what was going on with Milwaukee, but our team kept growing and getting better.” Casey also cited the Dec. 9 trade that sent Rudy Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray to Sacramento for John Salmons, Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes. Salmons, Vazquez and Patterson have been key bench players.
  • Guard Kyle Lowry (bruised left knee) and forward Amir Johnson (sore right ankle) are not expected to play. Johnson will miss his second straight game and Lowry his third. “It’s precautionary to make sure,” Casey said. “We need them, we want them, but we’d rather not risk their health.” Vazquez and Patterson will start in their places.
  • The Bucks signed forward Chris Wright to a 10-day contract Saturday. It’s the second 10-day contract for Wright, who also was with the Bucks from March 14-23. Wright could see action as the Bucks are quite depleted. Center Miroslav Raduljica (ankle), forward Epke Udoh (knee) and guard O.J. Mayo (ankle) will not play. They join Sanders (eye), forward Ersan Ilyasova (ankle), forward Carlos Delfino (foot) and guard Nate Walters (broken hand), who are all out for the rest of the season. That means the Bucks will only have eight available players for the second straight night.

Rick Braun

RAPTORS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (hyperextended right knee) will miss his second straight game, but remains listed as day-to-day. “I don’t know if we’ll see him Friday (against the Los Angeles Clippers), but I do know that would give him four days rest,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. The first-time NBA All-Star was injured in practice late last week, but played in Orlando and Miami before sitting out the Cavaliers’ 101-98 win Tuesday at the Bulls. Cleveland is 3-9 this season without Irving, who underwent an MRI in Chicago that confirmed there was no structural damage.
  • With Irving sidelined, point guard Shaun Livingston makes his second start with the Cavaliers. Livingston, who scored a season-high 15 points Tuesday against the Bulls, was claimed off waivers from the Wizards on Christmas Day. “I’ve always been intrigued with Shaun,” Scott said. “He just seems to fit into our system very well, and he’s also probably as healthy as he’s been in this league.” The 27-year-old Livingston is averaging 5.3 points and 3.4 assists in 25 games with Cleveland.
  • Joining Livingston in the Cavaliers’ lineup are rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Tristan Thompson, and rookie center Tyler Zeller. “They may not have Irving, but our approach definitely cannot change — and will not change tonight,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Cleveland plays the same way without him, and Dion Waiters has really come in and taken Kyrie’s place as the attacker in the fourth quarter of games.”
  • Toronto’s starters are point guard Kyle Lowry, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, small forward Rudy Gay, power forward Amir Johnson, and rookie center Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors are seeking their first four-game road winning streak since March 22-April 5, 2002 — and are 7-4 since Gay joined them in a trade from Memphis. “Toronto isn’t an athletic team, but they have two of the most athletic wings in the league in Rudy and DeRozan,” Scott said.
  • The Cavaliers have 11 players in uniform as shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson has returned after a three-game absence for personal reasons. Cleveland small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) is resting at home after undergoing surgery Saturday in Orlando, while point guard Josh Selby (NBA D-League assignment with Canton Charge) and center Anderson Varejao (season-ending right knee surgery) are inactive.
  • Raptors small forward Linas Kleiza (right knee soreness) is sitting out his 28th straight contest, while small forward Mickael Pietrus is a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. Toronto enters the evening five games behind Milwaukee in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. “That’s our goal,” Casey said. “Everybody’s goal should be the playoffs.”

– Brian Dulik

RAPTORS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Raptors point guard Jose Calderon (right ankle sprain) is no longer in a walking boot, but will miss his second straight game. A team spokesman said the seventh-year pro is “improving and will continue receiving treatment, but no timetable has been set for Jose’s return.” Calderon, who was injured Saturday in Toronto’s 105-86 loss at Detroit, ranks third in the NBA in assists (8.5). “I thought we were getting in a good rhythm with Jose, then ‘Boom!’” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “This is a year of growth and development for us, but Lord knows injuries have made the process more difficult.”
  • Point guard Jerryd Bayless and center Amir Johnson will make their second consecutive starts for Toronto, while power forward Andrea Bargnani is playing in his third game since returning from a left calf strain. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and small forward James Johnson round out the Raptors’ first five. “This league is all about opportunity, and this is a great one for Jerryd to run this team,” Casey said. “It also provides an opportunity for (backup) Gary Forbes to develop his point guard skills.”
  • The Cavaliers are seeking their first four-game winning streak since March 17-24, 2010, when their roster included LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal and Mo Williams. They also enter the evening one-half game behind Milwaukee and New York in the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. “We have talked about that, I don’t think we necessarily needed to,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott said. “It’s just about going out and taking care of business.”
  • Cavaliers power forward Luke Harangody is visiting Quicken Loans Arena, but has not been recalled from the franchise’s NBA D-League affiliate in Canton. The former Notre Dame standout was named the circuit’s co-performer of the week Monday. In six games with the Charge this season, Harangody is averaging 18.8 points and 11.5 rebounds. Second-year swingman Christian Eyenga also remains on an assignment with Canton.
  • Cleveland will start point guard Kyrie Irving, shooting guard Anthony Parker, small forward Alonzo Gee, power forward Antawn Jamison, and center Ryan Hollins.

– Brian Dulik

RAPTORS AT CAVALIERS, 7 P.M. ET

TV: League Pass

  • Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, will start at point guard ahead of veteran Ramon Sessions. Though Cleveland coach Byron Scott didn’t announce the move until game day, he said starting Irving was “pretty easy, when you think about putting him out there with veterans who can help him adjust like A.P. (Anthony Parker), Andy (Anderson Varejao), and Antawn (Jamison).” Irving averaged 16.0 points and 3.0 assists in the preseason.
  • Raptors center Aaron Gray (rapid heartrate) traveled with the team, but is being held out of the game for “very precautionary reasons,” according to general manager Bryan Colangelo. Coach Dwane Casey said Gray’s heart “fluttered on him in practice” on two occasions during the past week, prompting Toronto’s front office to seek additional medical advice before returning him to the court. Gray was signed as a free agent on Dec. 11.
  • The Raptors’ starting lineup is center Amir Johnson, power forward Andrea Bargnani, small forward Rasual Butler, shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, and point guard Jose Calderon. Casey gave Butler the nod at the three over James Johnson because he was a “steady Eddie.”
  • The Cavaliers are starting small forward Omri Casspi with Irving, shooting guard Parker, power forward Jamison, and center Varejao.
  • When he enters the game, center Jamaal Magloire will become the first native Canadian to play for Toronto.
  • Inactive for Cleveland were center Semih Erden (right thumb fracture) and guard Mychel Thompson, while the Raptors did not dress forward Linas Kleiza (right knee surgery) and Gray.

– Brian Dulik