Sportress of Blogitude

Dwane Casey welcomes doubters, says it ‘fuels’ Raptors

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Prevailing wisdom suggests that the Toronto Raptors don’t stand much of a chance of ousting the surging postseason juggernaut that is the Cleveland Cavaliers and it’s a mere formality that the LeBron James-led squad — Kyle Lowry’s comments notwithstanding — will make it consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals in relatively short order.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey not only encourages such talk from the pundits and experts who continue to doubt his squad — despite the fact the Raptors won two of three games against the Cavs during the regular season — he welcomes the skepticism with open arms.

Casey made that abundantly clear during comments made to the media Tuesday, mere hours before the Raptors take on the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at The Q Arena in Cleveland.

“I love that people discount us,” he said, via cleveland.com’s Nathaniel Cline. “They’ve discounted us over the past couple of years and I think that fuels us. It gets our guys going.”

Casey’s most recent comments echo essentially everything he has stated in the handful of days since Toronto eliminated the Miami Heat on Sunday in Game 7, the team’s second-straight series to go the distance.

In fact, it goes back even further. Casey clearly relished the underdog role early on during the Heat series when word got out that James waspining for a possible showdown with Dwyane Wade, essentially casting aside the prospects of the Raptors winning the series.

“Nobody respects us, everybody has written us off and that’s fine,” Casey said of James’ comments after the Raptors lost Game 1 to the Heat. “Hopefully our guys take that to heart and take offense to it.”

As noted, not many experts are giving the Raptors a chance to upend the Cavaliers in the East Finals. The same can be said of the oddsmakers. According to VegasInsider.com, the odds of the Raptors winning it all is at 50/1, while the Cavaliers come in at a strong 7/5.

And speaking of odds, chances are pretty good that if Casey was informed of what Vegas had to say about the Raptors’ prospects, he’d welcome it.