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Cleveland Cavaliers

Recap: Raptors 120, Cavs 105

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 5, 2011

I don't have it in me to dissect another feeble effort and another dreadful loss to another dreadful team. So I'll just mention that the Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves are a combined 4-0 against the Cavaliers and 17-50 against the rest of the league. Yep, that about covers it.

The most disappointing aspect of this loss to me is J.J. Hickson. He and Cavs coach Byron Scott just had a clear-the-air chat last week. Scott essentially told him "I'm the leader, you're the follow. Now I'll lead and you follow." And Hickson did, for about 45 minutes. Then he got off at the wrong exit again.

To be clear, Scott still likes Hickson and wants him to be part of this team. That's why he continues to play him. Scott obviously has given up entirely on Jamario Moon. About 30 minutes after insisting his top priority was to win games, and he'll play the guys that give him the best chance to win, Scott decided that D-Leaguers Manny Harris, Christian Eyenga and Alonzo Gee give him a better chance to win than Moon. That's why all those guys were active and Moon wasn't.

Heck, even Hickson was active over Moon, and Hickson wasn't even going to play!

Speaking of Hickson, I've said it before and it bears repeating: The most disappointing aspect of this disappointing season has been Hickson's regression. This isn't to pick on Hickson, because I actually think he's a good-natured kid. But this was supposed to be the season he blossomed into a cornerstone for this franchise and it just hasn't happened yet. Now he's regressing further by not showing up for a mandatory practice.

The Cavs played back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday. That typically entails a day off the next day, but Scott wanted Hickson and a few of the other players to come in anyhow and get some work in. It's the workout Daniel Gibson referenced when he said he had a good workout on Monday, and that's how he knew his thigh was ready for games again.

But Hickson chose not to attend. I asked Hickson why he didn't bother showing up, but he declined to answer. That's his right not to answer, but it sure looks bad when a 22-year-old with the potential to be an All-Star skips practice when he has already been lectured by his coach in the past for effort issues. But Hickson isn't the first guy to skip a practice and he's not the last. I would just suggest to him to make sure it doesn't happen again.

There are still 50 games remaining in this season. He has plenty of time to start proving he can be a key piece to this team's rebuild, but he's not off to a very good start.

Christian Eyenga, on the other hand, is holding his own. He's played in just two games, but he oozes athleticism. That much is evident already. He scored 16 points against the Raptors, including nine in the fourth quarter. Scott likes the way Eyenga puts his head down, plays defense and does what is asked of him. Hickson could use a lesson in that.

Stats
Cavs

Antawn Jamison 32 points, 5 of 7 3-pointers
Mo Williams 11 points, 9 assists
Christian Eyenga 16 points
Ramon Sessions 16 points, 12 of 12 FTs
Raptors
Andrea Bargnani 25 points
Jose Calderon 20 points, 17 assists

Turning point
The Raptors exploded for 40 points in the second quarter, equaling the most points the Cavs have allowed in a quarter this season. The Raptors outscored the Cavs 94-67 over the final three quarters.

Key stat
The Raptors entered as the worst 3-point shooting team in the league at around 30 percent, then promptly fired in 9 of 18 3-pointers. It proves that Cavs can't defend the 3-point line against anyone.

Key stat II
The Raptors scored 62 points in the paint. SIXTY TWO!

They said it
"We didn't do a good job of guarding anybody on that floor. We have to take it personally. When you're one-on-one with a guy, it has to be personal. When those guys scored, it didn't hurt. It's got to hurt. It's got to be painful. We just keep allowing it to happen as a team and individuals." -- Byron Scott

Up next
The Cavs (8-27) travel to Golden State (14-21) at 10:30 p.m. on Friday.

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