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DeMar DeRozan’s struggles against the Cleveland Cavaliers are mostly the result of how one man is playing, according to LeBron James.
The Toronto Raptors’ leading scorer, coming off an eight-point Game 3 on Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena while shooting 3-of-12, is averaging 18 points and shooting only 43.6 percent in the first three games of this series.
“DeMar DeRozan has missed a lot of easy opportunities against us,” James said of the Raptors’ All-Star guard, who look for redemption and to keep Toronto’s season alive in Game 4 tonight. Cleveland leads the series, 3-0. In NBA history, 129 teams have lost the first three game of a series and none have ever rallied to win the series.
DeRozan averaged 23 points per game during the regular season and amped it up in the first round of the playoffs, scoring at a 26.7 average against the Washington Wizards, whom the Raptors eclipsed in six games.
Against the Cavaliers, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue has used mostly J.R. Smith and Jeff Green to defend DeRozan, who didn’t even play in the fourth quarter of Game 3.
“We just try to make it a little bit more challenging, that’s all,” James said. “He got into the lane four or five times and missed some floaters, missed some layups, missed a couple wide-open 3s that he’s been making.
“So it’s easy to say the job we’ve done, but when you’re playing against an All-Star starter and the caliber of player of DeMar, you just try to make it challenging on him and then hope that he misses shots.”