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Raptors coach Dwane Casey is really concerned about how the Cavaliers put on their pants

By Joe Noga • May 3, 2017 at 3:30 PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Toronto coach Dwane Casey kept pointing out Tuesday that Raptors and Cavaliers players both put their pants on the same way. One leg at a time.

The old coaching adage was Casey's way of communicating that his team still has confidence entering Wednesday's Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 at Quicken Loans Arena against the defending NBA champions.

"They're a very good team, we all know that," Casey said. "We're a good team too. Had the same record (51-31 in the regular season)."

Casey bristled at the characterization that the Cavs "dominated" Monday's Game 1 victory in which they led by as many as 25 points during the third quarter.

"It wasn't as bad as it felt going through it (on film)," Casey said. "There's things we can do better to take away that feeling. We have another gear to get to that I don't think we got to last night."

Naturally, most of Casey's concerns center around Cavaliers All-Star forward LeBron James, who scored 35 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with four assists in picking apart Toronto's defense.

Casey said he is fighting to keep Toronto from stargazing like players got caught doing when he was an assistant in Seattle in the 1990s. And again, he reached for the pants analogy to illustrate his point.

"We used to do that with Michael Jordan," Casey said. "We used to have to tell Gary Payton and those guys 'Hey, he puts his pants on one leg.' I think it's human nature to watch a Michael Jordan or a Karl Malone and spectate until they hit you in the mouth."

Now that the Raptors have been hit in the mouth, what needs to change for them to have success in Game 2?

"There are some things we're going to change as far as sending extra bodies," Casey admitted. "Even doing that, the anticipation of the next play and the next move is important."

Meanwhile, Casey said improving Toronto's anticipation, help defense and double teaming could minimize or negate a little bit of James' impact in Game 2. He put James' Game 1 performance in the same category as a Jordan or Magic Johnson, referring to such players as "freaks of nature."

"This guy's no different, but again it's a team game," Casey said. "You're not going to stop a guy like that. Because he's got buddies out there with him too and he's a great passer. But our anticipation, our level of force has another gear to go to that we didn't display."

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