Final Dime: Cavaliers 104, Raptors 96


Ryan Hollins finished with 14 points and four boards in Wednesday's win.
Ron Turenne
NBAE/Getty Images
1. Anyone wondering how big of a difference Baron Davis has made to the Cavaliers needs to just watch the final 5:55 of the Wine and Gold’s win on Wednesday night in Toronto.

The Cavaliers ran out to a 22-point lead, but the Raptors cut Cleveland’s lead to just six midway through the fourth. But Baron Davis came off Byron Scott’s bench, calmed the Cavs down, scored six of the Wine and Gold’s next eight points and helped them hang on for the 104-96 victory.

The win was the Cavaliers’ second straight; the first time they’ve won consecutive games since winning three straight in early November.

Baron might have closed the game, but J.J. Hickson was the Wine and Gold’s workhorse – netting 21 of his team-high 28 points in the first half. When J.J. sunk his second free throw with 35 seconds to play in the first half, the Cavaliers were up, 60-38.

Hickson was 9-for-17 from the floor and 10-for-14 from the stripe, grabbing 10 boards to go with three assists and a blocked shot.

"I'm never satisfied with the way I play, like tonight I am not satisfied with the way I played," said the new-and-improved Hickson. "I am going to get on the plane and review the game, see everything that I did wrong and go back to the lab and try and get another win."

Davis did it with his scoring down the stretch, but he did it with his passing in the opening quarter, dealing out eight of his team-high 12 assists – including a pair of slick wrap-around-the-back passes that led to dunks by his fellow former Bruin, Ryan Hollins.

"I thought (Davis) was big to start the game, really got us into our offense, got guys easy shots, easy buckets and that got us on a pretty good little roll offensively," said Byron Scott. "In the fourth quarter the last five or six minutes, he kind of took it up on himself to make some plays and get the lead back up to double digits. That’s what great players do."

Cleveland shot 58 percent in the first half, but cooled off considerably in the third quarter, going just 4-of-23 from the field. Toronto kept chipping away in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late (and too much Baron Davis) for the short-handed Raptors.

Davis was one of five Cavaliers in double-figures with 19 points. Ramon Sessions, who moved to the bench when Baron entered the starting lineup, finished with 15 points in just under 18 minutes of action.

Ryan Hollins continued his strong play, adding 14 points, four boards and a game-high three blocked shots. Alonzo Gee finished with 10 points and nine boards and Luke Harangody came off Cleveland’s bench to grab 10 boards.

The Cavaliers return home, have a day off and prepare for another home-road back-to-back, welcoming Derrick Rose and the Bulls to The Q on Friday before traveling to Milwaukee for a Saturday night battle with the Bucks.

2. Including Wednesday’s win, the Cavaliers finished 8-10 against the Atlantic Division, easily their best mark against any division in the NBA.

3. J.J. Hickson has now scored 20 or more points in five of his last six games and has notched double-doubles in seven of his last nine. Wednesday’s 28-point, 10-board effort was his 24th double-double of the season and 28th of his career.

4. Alonzo Gee has now notched double-figures in five straight games, averaging 11.3 points and 5.6 boards during that span.

5. When Ramon Sessions missed his second free throw late in the first quarter, his consecutive streak of makes ended at 28 – the league’s longest active streak.

6. J.J. came into Wednesday’s second half of the back-to-back having not done well on zero day’s rest – averaging just 9.6 ppg on 39 percent shooting. In his last two games on zero night’s rest, he’s averaging 24.0 ppg on 59 percent shooting.

7. Samardo Samuels sat out his second straight game with a left groin strain he suffered Sunday’s loss to New York.

8. Tempers flared with 1:01 remaining in the third, when Toronto’s James Johnson hit Joey Graham in the face on a fast break. Graham had just blocked Johnson on the other end. Graham bounced up quickly and came after Johnson and was whistled for a technical. Johnson was hit with a flagrant foul.

9. His emotional performance against Miami – plus Baron Davis insertion into the starting lineup – has breathed life into Ryan Hollins, who has scored in double-figures in four of his last six games, averaging 10.5 points and shooting 72 percent from the floor.

10. The last time the Cavaliers won consecutive games was Nov. 5-9 – knocking off Philadelphia, Washington and New Jersey – all on the road.