Game Notes: Cleveland vs. Toronto

First off, a big welcome to all the new readers who found Hoops Addict thanks to the new microphone flag I used. Hopefully you like what you see and keep coming back all season for the Raptors and NBA fix.

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Before the game I had a chuckle when Shaquille O’Neal walked into the locker room holding a mini-laptop. While normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, the thing looked so small in his hands it was comparable to me holding a sticky note. Shouldn’t he be rocking an XL laptop instead of a mini?

And no, I didn’t check to see if he was on Twitter. Sorry.

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The media scrum for LeBron James before the game was nothing short of epic. There was at least 20 members of the media scrunched into an area that would comfortably fit three people while everyone was clamoring for the chance to throw a question at King James.

Clearly I wasn’t going to get a chance to dig into the topics I had hope so I found myself scanning the room to figure out which players I’d chat with next.

The problem with that is the locker room was pretty much deserted except for Daniel Gibson. Normally this would be great since he is a player I had targeted, but he had his Dre headphones on and music blaring from his iPod, which had him in an almost trance-like state while getting focused for the game.

And to be brutally honest, I was kind of bitter because I needed to take some of his time for an article I’m working on.

But when Gibson saw me walking over to chat he slid off his headphones and provided me with one of the better chats I’ve had with an NBA player. We talked about muscle memory, joked about some methods Steve Kerr used during his playing career to stay loose and he gave some great insight into his role within the Cavs offense this season.

Look for the audio to be up on Hoops Addict early next week.

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I’ve got to hand it to the fans at the Air Canada Centre for giving Alvin Williams one of the loudest ovations of the night. Sure, they gave some love to former favourites Jamario Moon and Anthony Parker while giving some love to Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon, but the applause rained down like thunder when “Boogie” was announced. Glad to see fans appreciate one of pivotal players from the history of the franchise.

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After what I saw from DeMar DeRozan in the preseason I anticipated he would come out a bit nervous tonight but his play was anything but.  Early in the game he hit two free throws and got a bit of swagger going and then he followed that up with a nice jumper and a steal on Cavs next possession.

DeRozan finished the first quarter with 4 points, 3 boards, 1 block and 1 steal in 9 minutes of burn. While his final numbers won’t jump out at you – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block in 23 minutes – it was an impressive debut for the Raptors lottery pick.

After the game he chatted with the media about his nerves playing in his first regular season game, how much fun it was to play against LeBron James and the way Toronto established themself on the defensive end tonight:

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After Jose Calderon was honoured before the game for setting the NBA record for free throw percentage he then misses his first two free throws of the season. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Calderon missed consecutive free throws at any point last season.

After the game Calderon was able to joke with the media and promised to hit his next 52 to make up for his miscues tonight.

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Something interesting to come from Jay Triano’s press conference following the game was the coach admitting he stopped trying to match up against Cleveland and instead put the players out on the court he felt gave his team the best chance to win:

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Ryan McNeill
Ryan McNeill has appeared on ESPN Radio, MTV Canada, SiriusXM, The Fan 590 and other radio programs and TV shows. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.
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