Raptors Roll Past Cavs
The Cavaliers played on consecutive nights for the first time in this condensed season, and it showed, as the Raptors rolled over a weary-looking Wine and Gold squad, 92-77, on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre.
After opening an early lead, the Cavaliers fell behind after one quarter, 21-18, and never recovered. The Raptors eventually opened their lead to as many as 20 points and went on to hand Cleveland two of its first three losses.
Antawn Jamison scored 17 of his team-leading 19 points in the first half – one of just three Cavaliers to notch double-figures in Wednesday’s rematch. Kyrie Irving followed up with a dozen points, but shot just 3-for-13 from the floor.
In two games against Toronto, the top overall pick has now gone 5-for-25 from the field.
"There’s no way somebody can put into words what a back-to-back is going to feel like on your body," said Irving. "This is my first experience and I’m glad I got it out of the way early. Because we have a few coming up in the future and it was a learning experience. So, (I'll) just take things that didn’t work and try different things until I get it right."
The only other Cavalier to tally double-figures was Omri Casspi, with 10 points. Anderson Varejao led all rebounders with 13.
Despite their sluggish start, Cleveland was in the game right through the third quarter. But if a pair of desperation threes by DeMar DeRozan wobbled them in the first half, it was Leandro Barbosa’s 34-foot bomb early in the fourth that served as TKO.
Barbosa’s three put Toronto up 13 with just over nine minutes to play and the Cavaliers didn’t mount much of a comeback from there. With 2:23 remaining, Coach Scott emptied his bench and essentially began looking toward Minnesota.
“I give Toronto a lot of credit,” lamented Scott. “They played great basketball on both ends of the floor, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean and when we made a little bit of a run, they made a miracle three to kind of break our backs. But we’ll just have to pick ourselves up and get ready for the next one.”
The Cavaliers roadie continues in the Land of 10,000 Lakes on Friday night with a matchup against Kevin Love, Derrick Williams and the Timberwolves.
“The first game was an open practice in the inaugural season,” he recalled. “We were still at the Sky Dome. I remember the Sprite Zone, $10 tickets and going with my dad. It was really exciting.”
“I still think he needs to just continue to work,” said Coach Scott. “He has to learn to be a professional in this league and work hard every single day. And that’s the reason Alonzo (Gee) has taken such a giant leap. He just comes every night and brings it. And Christian needs to get to that point. He knows that every day in practice and you have to bring it, and when you get an opportunity in the game, he has to do the same thing.”
“They said they didn’t know I was that athletic,” the rookie point joked. “I told them I didn’t know I was that athletic either.”
“I’m gonna chalk it up to just youth and inexperience,” reasoned Byron Scott. “Hopefully he learned his lesson and hopefully he’ll take care of it and it’ll never happen again.