Cavs 93, Raptors 76
The Cavaliers should have won this game in the first half. It's that simple, but they were their own worst enemy. They went into the locker room leading 47-41, but that could have easily been double digits.
The problem: they committed 11-of-20 of their turnovers in the first half leading to 10 Raptors points. Ultimately, fans cannot quibble with the end results, which was victory sparked a return to the defense they featured earlier in the season.
They held the Raptors to 36.5 percent shooting from the field, blocked seven shots and had seven steals. They also crushed the Raptors on the boards 48-32, led by a season high from Anderson Varejao with 14.
Offensively, they accomplished something they'd not done in a while which was getting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas established in the low post - giving him a couple of easy shots. For them to have success in the post season, they will have to do this more.
At the half: The Cavs got off to a shaky start as you might expect after a prolonged break, but turned it around. They seemed to find their defensive rhythm again, holding the Raptors to under 40 percent in the first half, with Anderson Varejao leading the way with three blocked shots and nine rebounds.
But where there's good, there's bad and in this case it comes in the form of turnovers by the Cavs as they've given up 11 in the first half leading to 10 Raptors points.
Game: Cavs vs. Toronto Raptors
Last time: Cavs beat the Raptors 101-83 on Feb. 3.
Broadcast: TV: FSOhio. Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Zydrunas Ilguaskas (C); Tarence Kinsey (G); Mo Williams (G). Raptors: Shawn Marion (F); Joey Graham (F); Andrea Bargnani (F); Anthony Parker (G); Jose Calderon (G).
Officials: Greg Willard, Tony Brown, Kevin Fehr
Injured and inactive: Cavs: Eric Snow (knee), Ben Wallace (lacerations); Delonte West (wrist). Raptors: Chris Bosh (knee).
Streaking: Cavs have won one in a row, the Raptors two.
Two things to look for:
Home, new home: How Shawn Marion reacts to his new environs, having recently come from the Miami Heat.
Rust, rust rust: First game afte rthe All-Star break, it's certain that both teams will have to shake off some rust tonight.
From the coach's office:
Mike Brown on J.J. Hickson's play:
He’s gone through his ups and downs, but he’s probably had more ups than downs. That’s going to continue the whole year and it may continue into his second year.From the locker room:
Coming into the league I already understood that the NBA is a business, things have to happen. At the end of the day, that’s why they call them trade rumors. I’m not paying attention to that, I’m just focusing on this game.