While always a special occasion, playing at home no longer throws Tristan Thompson a bit off.
The Cavaliers big man from Brampton faced the Raptors at the ACC for the fourth time in his NBA career on Sunday and made his presence felt in an 11 point, 10 rebound effort. That followed a 14 point, eight rebound, three block performance here earlier this season.
Last year, Thompson struggled mightily in front of family and friends, missing 9-of-11 shot attempts in Toronto as a rookie.
“The first time is kind of anxious, but also the way you prepare for the game is different than any other city, you have family and this is the team you grew up watching and you just want to go out there and play so well,” Thompson explained to the Sun before the game.
“I think you end up getting away from what makes you play well, so, the next couple of times you come, you kind of get adjusted to the routine. Just understand that even though it’s home, for me, as long as I play hard, everything will take care of itself.”
Thompson indeed played hard and was very disappointed afterwards to see his team blow a nine-point halftime lead due to a 33-point third quarter blitz by the Raptors. Thompson made sure to share in the blame for letting Amir Johnson go off.
But, overall, Thompson has had a strong sophomore campaign for the Cavs, averaging 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds while raising his field goal percentage from 43.9% as a rookie to 49.1% and his free throw shooting 11% to 65%.
The injury to Anderson Varejao allowed Thompson to show more of what he was capable of and he said he’s simply more comfortable having a year of Byron Scott’s offensive teachings under his belt.
Homecomings getting easier for Tristan
Toronto Sun | Mar 11