Cavs 128, Raptors 116
In a nutshell:
I take no responsibilty for this blog because it was written on fumes. I am dragging. Up at 4 a.m. to miss bad weather. Hiking to make a gate to get to Toronto so I could cover the game. This is the stuff books and bad television shows are made.
But let's forget about that. There was a game played tonight and as good as the Cavs looked against the Celtics for three quarters, they looked that bad against the Raptors tonight. Perhaps it is a work and progress and they showed what they will eventually become on Thursday. Cavs fans should hope so.
In the meantime, the Raptors kept the game close by working the pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll well much of the game. Andrea Bargnani and Hedo Turkoglu torched the Cavs from outside and drov to the hoop as well.
For four quarters, the Cavs had no real answers on defense giving up a 12-point lead in the first half and a seven-point lead in the game's final minutes. Then: click. In overtime that was it - everything came together on both sides of the court. Defensively they finally got stops as the Raptors shot 1-for-8 in overtime. The Cavs hit 5-of-9 with two huge three-pointers coming courtesy of Mo Williams who, after a second solid outing, is no longer struggling.
What did the Cavs do right - they finally got stops through sheer will. The offense was there all night as they shot better than 50 percent during regulation. Their defensive issues are what frustrate. There's little doubt that Shaquille O'Neal's absence played a role, but this has been a consistent theme with them for close to ten games.
Luckily for them, Mike Brown has time to work on it.
Game: Cavs at Toronto Raptors
TV: FSOhio Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Anderson Varejao (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Raptors: Andrea Bargnani (F); Hedo Turkoglu (F); Rasho Nesterovic (C); DeMar DeRozan (G); Jarrett Jack (G).
Injured: Cavs: Shaquille O'Neal (right thumb sprain) - OUT, Sebastian Telfair (groin) - OUT. Raptors: Chris Bosh (sprained left ankle) - OUT.
Officials: Bill Spooner, Eric Lewis and Leroy Richardson.
Call it the catching the break tour. The Cavs missed Paul Pierce last night in Boston due to injury and tonight they don't have to deal with Chris Bosh who is out with an injured ankle.
That certainly doesn't make this thing easy. The Raptors give the Cavs plenty of problems, especially Bargnani who is a big who feasts on the Cavs from the outside (sound familiar?) averages 23.5 per ge agaisnt them this year. And of course they still have Hedo Turkoglu to worry about from the outside as well.
The Cavs will want to build on the defensive momentum they gathered last night in Boston.