Desperately Seeking Scola in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals

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It’s been a rough postseason for Argentine big man Luis Scola. Despite averaging nine points and four rebounds during the regular season for Toronto, Scola has been relegated to the bench during the Raptors’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals. After starting 76 games for the Raptors this season, Scola did not play in key games in the first two rounds of the playoffs, due to coach Dwane Casey’s decision.

Scola returned to action in Game 1 of the conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring seven points and pulling down two boards in a reserve role. While his shooting stroke appears to have abandoned him at the most inopportune time of the season, Scola’s ability to maintain composure in big games and get to the freethrow line could be critical against LeBron James and the Cavs juggernaut.

“We are going to lose more games,” Scola told The Toronto Star after the blowout loss. “We’re not going to win 4-1. I’ll tell you that right now. We’re not going to beat them by 20. They are going to make a run. All those things are going to happen and we have to be okay, because that’s the way you build a series.”

Scola was back in the starting lineup for Game 2 in Cleveland, contributing six points and three rebounds in another lopsided defeat. He once again struggled with his shot going 1-5 from the field, including 1-4 from beyond the arc.

The Raptors return to Canada facing their toughest challenge of the season. Toronto appeared to have exorcised the demons of playoffs past with Game 7 victories against the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat, but unlike those teams, the Cavaliers are superior opponents. For the Raptors to win at least one game in the series, starters Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan must return to form – All-Star form, and Scola desperately needs to emerge from his shooting slump.