Final Dime: Raptors 120, Cavaliers 105
Anderson Varejao dons a protective mask for Wednesday night's matchup at
David Liam Kyle
For the second straight contest, Jamison notched a 30-plus point performance – tallying a dozen of those points in the Cavaliers’ 38-point first quarter. But Jamison watched the Raptors fire back with a 40-point second period. Cleveland was within six to start the fourth, but Toronto shot nearly 60 percent in the final stanza to hand the reeling Cavaliers their eighth straight loss – 120-105 – on Wednesday night at The Q.
The loss was the Cavaliers 18th in their last 19 outings and things don’t get any easier with the Wine and Gold set to hit the road.
Jamison was 11-for-21 from the floor, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc and 5-of-7 from the stripe. The 13th-year forward added four boards, a pair of steals and a blocked shot to his 32-point output.
“We know the sense of urgency, guys are frustrated, but we need to be frustrated when teams score as easily as they do on us or when we have breakdowns and we are not in the correct positions. That’s when we need to be upset – not because of missing shots on the offensive end. Offense is not the problem.”
Both teams shot well from the floor on Wednesday. The Cavaliers finished at 51 percent from the floor, 53 percent from long-distance. They attempted 33 free throws and canned them at an 82 percent clip.
But the Raptors shot 57 percent on the night, thoroughly dominating the Wine and Gold in the paint – 62-28. They hit 50 buckets on 35 assists and outrebounded the Cavaliers by nine.
“Every time I think we’re taking a step forward, we take two steps back, especially on the defensive end,” lamented Coach Scott. “We just have to figure out a way, every single night, to have that type of effort that I know we’re capable of.”
Ramon Sessions and Christian Eyenga notched 16 points apiece off Byron Scott’s bench, with Eyenga going 7-for-10 from the floor in just his second game as a pro. Sessions was just 2-for-4 from the floor, but was a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line and added six assists.
Cleveland’s starting guard tandem of Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson were both 5-for-11 from field. Mo finished with 11 points and a team-high nine assists, but also led the squad with six miscues. Gibson finished with 13 points, six assists and a pair of steals before leaving the game with an injury in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers won’t return to the cozy confines of The Q for a fortnight – heading West for five contests before returning home to face Steve Nash and the Suns on Jan. 19.
2. Antwan Jamison celebrated his own Bobblehead Night at The Q, notching his second straight big game at The Q. In his last two outings, the former Tarheel is averaging 33.5 points and 7.0 boards per contest – shooting 58 percent from the floor, 61 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the floor. Jamison has now tallied double-figures in 17 of his last 18 contests.
3. In only his second NBA start after being called up from the Erie Bayhawks on Sunday, Christian Eyenga notched 16 points, two boards and a blocked shot in 28 active minutes, but Coach Scott was even more impressed with his defense.
“I thought (Eyenga) took the challenge defensively,” said Scott. “We switched him out on Jose (Calderon) and I thought he did a pretty good job, but again, he’s still young … He’s come a long way and he’s continued to get better. He works his butt off and he’s going to be a good player.”
4. After missing the previous two games, Daniel Gibson and Anderson Varejao returned to the lineup. Varejao, who was just 1-for-4 from the floor with eight boards, was sporting a protective mask. Boobie was returning from a thigh injury, but twisted his ankle with 4:58 to play in the third and didn’t return.
5. With Wednesday’s win, the Raptors snapped an 11-game losing streak at The Q.
6. Ramon Sessions has been on a strong run lately. Over his last five games, the former Nevada standout is averaging 16.4 points 5.2 boards and 6.2 assists per contest. During that stretch, Ramon is shooting 55 percent from the floor and 94 percent from the stripe.
7. With Anthony Parker nursing a sore back, recently-signed forward Alonzo Gee got his first start with the Cavaliers – finishing with nine points, two boards, two assists, a steal and a block in 25 productive minutes.
8. J.J. Hickson got just his second DNP-CD of the season on Wednesday night.
9. Cleveland Browns defenders – safety Abe Elam and linebacker Titus Brown – took in the action courtside on Wednesday night.
10. The Cavaliers will head west for their longest junket of the season – a five-game Western Conference swing that will have them facing the Warriors in Oakland on Friday night, the Suns on Sunday night, a meeting with the World Champs in L.A. on Wednesday and a tough back-to-back in Utah and Denver on Friday and Saturday before heading home.
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.