The Cavaliers have been dogging Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan on defense in their playoff series, and it seems to be working.
DeRozan, who averaged 23.0 points per game in the regular season and 26.7 points per game in Toronto's first-round win over the Wizards, is averaging only 18.0 points in three games against the Cavs. He has yet to make a 3-pointer (0-for-9) and hit only three of his 12 shots in the Raptors' Game 3 loss Saturday.
LeBron James knows DeRozan can do more.
"DeMar DeRozan has missed a lot of easy opportunities against us," James told reporters Monday (via Cleveland.com).
The Raptors desperately need DeRozan to step up. Cleveland leads the Eastern Conference semifinals 3-0 entering Monday's game in Cleveland.
JR Smith has been guarding DeRozan, and James admits the team set out to make things "challenging" for the 6-7 shooting guard.
"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."
The Raptors are on the brink of an especially upsetting playoff exit, given the team finished with the best regular-season record (59-23) in the Eastern Conference this season.