When Coach Dwane Casey had pulled DeMar DeRozan in final frames the third quarter, the guard’s stat line stood at 8 points on 3 12 shooting, hardly enough for a player in his position on deadline day. The Cavaliers’ strategy sticking double coverage on him, highlighted the team’s difficulty to adapt their fence. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue even said that his game plan was to limit DeRozan’s effectiveness and allow point guard Kyle Lowry more spacing, akin to choosing a best two evils.
With DeRozan out the game, the Raptors were able to eradicate a 16 point deficit, with the game plan ratcheted up. Although it was plausible metric for his team to game plan without him, it was a difficult for a player his stature. “It’s extremely hard, extremely hard,” said DeRozan in the post-game interview. “I just want to be out there helping my team, way more than anything. It definitely sucks to be watching … we’ve got to give credit to those guys. We fought hard and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
On the positive, his poor performance was overshadowed by Lebron carrying his team on his shoulders, so much that even Kevin Love’s stellar has gone undetected where credit is due. Game 4 is do or die, DeRozan seems aware the consequences:”I’ve got another game, got another opportunity. That’s all that matters.”