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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Raptors 92, Cavs 77

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 4, 2012

Antawn Jamison looks like a prophet right about now. He warned the youngsters throughout the preseason that they need to get their rest, stay off their feet and not be out on the town in visiting cities. The lockout was going to make this condensed schedule even more grueling.

The proof of that was evident in the Cavs' first back-to-back of the season. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson combined to shoot 3 of 18 and the Cavs shot less than 30 percent as a team in losing to the Raptors for the second time in as many weeks.

The Raptors still aren't a very good team, but the Cavs have made them look like legitimate playoff contenders. And the Raptors must not believe all this hype about the stardom that awaits Irving.

In two games against the Raptors, Irving has made just 5 of 25 shots. He's 26 of 49 in the other four games. Cavs coach Byron Scott said his lousy performance the first time around was simply opening night jitters. This time, Irving was exhausted from playing on consecutive nights.

It's important to remember that Irving played in only 11 games last season at Duke. He has already played about one-third as many minutes as he did all of last season and the Cavs still have 60 games to play.

He's going to have tired legs. He'll probably hit the wall at some point and production will wane until he figures out how to fight through. As Scott said after the game, it's all part of the process the Cavs are enduring.

Turning point
The Cavs had trimmed the deficit to 54-49 with five minutes left in the third when the Raptors' Andrea Bargnani completed a four-point play. Bargnani came free off a pick-and-roll and Anderson Varejao hit his shooting hand while Bargnani swished a 3-pointer. The Raptors went up by 9 and the Cavs weren't heard from again.

Key stat
The Cavs shot .296 from the floor (24 of 81) and made just 7 of 23 3-pointers.

Statistics
Cavs

Antawn Jamison 19 points, 6 rebounds
Kyrie Irving 12 points, 4 assists
Omri Casspi 10 points, 5 rebounds
Raptors
Andrea Bargnani 31 points, 7 rebounds
DeMar DeRozan 25 points, 5 3-pointers (equals total from all of last season)
Jose Calderon 13 points, 11 assists

Up next
The Cavs play at Minnesota at 8 p.m. on Friday

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