Cavs: Daniel Gibson, Sasha Pavlovic, Devin Brown, Drew Gooden, Zydrunas Ilgauskas Raptors: Jose Calderon, Anthony Parker, Jamario Moon, Andrea Bargnani, Rasho Nestovic
Joe Forte, Michael Smith, Sean Wright
--Mike Brown made the decision to sit LeBron, he said he could've played. No reason to rush anything in November. Plus I don't think LeBron did a lot at shootaround today and they'd like to see how he plays with the finger taped. --Chris Bosh is also out, so the headliners are gone. TJ Ford is active but not starting. --Cavs obviously have a massive scoring void. No idea how they are going to deal with it other than pounding the ball in to Z, whom the Raptors have always had trouble defending. Z will have to have a good night. I also envision Gooden or Sasha taking advantage and getting up a load of shots. Historically, teams tend to play well in the short run when a star goes down. But with Larry Hughes and Donyell Marshall also out, the Cavs are so thin it might not matter. --I've been thinking...how long before Drew attempts that first 3-pointer? --The Raptors will probably look to bomb away from the outside off penetration from Calderon and/or Ford. Cavs' defensive rotations are going to have to be tight for them to stay in the game.
Halftime -- Raptors 54, Cavs 49
--This game is going how you'd expect it. The Cavs are scrapping and Gooden is stepping up to take the most shots. The Cavs offense really puttered in the second quarter. They have only seven assists in the game and two came on the last two possessions. Still they are in it somehow. --Ford and Calderon have combined for 11 assists and their ability to get their shooters open is really working. The Raptors shot 60 percent for most of the half and Carlos Delfino came off the bench to hit 6-of-7 shots and score 15 points. The bench points so far are 21-5. The Cavs are going to have to find a way to contest more shots, the Raptors will have a cool spell but if they are up 12 points when they have it, it won't matter. --Z got just five shots in the first half and didn't get the ball in the post much. The Cavs struggle when they try to create on the outside, even though that is about all they are trying so far. He's going to need to step up in the second half to take the pressure off the shooters. He's also not crashing the offensive boards well because he's out on the perimeter.
Postgame -- Raptors 91, Cavs 82 Stars Carlos Delfino, 24 points, seven rebounds Andrea Bargnani, 26 points Drew Gooden, 15 points, 14 rebounds Daniel Gibson, 24 points, seven assists
--For the Cavs to win this game they were either going to have to play unexpectedly good offense or unexpected good defense. They did neither, so they didn't win. Meanwhile, the Raptors had two guys (Delfino and Bargnani) get their career highs. That's pretty much the story. --Not sure whose fault it was, but Z getting seven shots isn't going to do it. Rasho Nesterovic has never been able to stop him before. Some of it was him not working to get into position, he had a low energy night...just one offensive rebound. But he also wasn't in the post all that much either. --Want to know why the Raptors survived, other than they have a deeper team? TJ Ford and Jose Calderon combined for 16 assists, the Cavs had 13 as a team. If you can't keep those guys in front of you then you have to be cleaner in rotations...yet Delfino seemed to be taking wide open shots all night. --Obviously the 82 points after the 74 the other night shows the Cavs have scoring problems without LeBron. Here's why, the low assists, and just four second chance points (the double teams weren't there to force the opposition out of position) and just six fastbreak points. --It appears that LeBron will play on Sunday, he could've played tonight. He will probably practice tomorrow and give the green light would by my guess.
Quotes --Mike Brown: "I thought our guys did a decent job of competing but we did some things defensively where we put ourselves in a bind. We had some mental breakdowns and it put us in a predicament." --Z: "When LeBron is not there it makes it so much harder for everybody else. When he gets the ball the defense shifts toward him and a lot of opportunities open up from offensive rebounds to easy baskets. That's why 70 percent of our plays go through him and we didn't have a lot of time to prepare not to have him."
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