Raptors Snap Cavs Run

Slow Second Quarter Sinks Cleveland
Tristan Thompson
Tristan Thompson notched nine points in Tuesday's loss at The Q.
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
“Like I said before, certain teams just have your number,” lamented Coach Byron Scott. “I guess they have our number.”

As they’ve done in both previous meetings, the Toronto Raptors continued to confound the Wine and Gold. Only this time, the loss snapped the Cavaliers’ three-game win streak and kept them away from the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

On Tuesday night, a sluggish second quarter spelled defeat in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers played the Raptors even in all other periods, but Toronto used a 33-24 quarter to take a 54-46 edge into intermission. The Wine and Gold made a moderate push, cutting a 13-point advantage to just six with four minutes to play. But they couldn’t get the stops when they needed them and fell, 96-88, on Tuesday night at The Q.

“In the first quarter, we forced six turnovers and in the second quarter we forced zero,” said Tristan Thompson. “We just let them have their way in the second quarter and that’s the ballgame for you.”

Antawn Jamison led a Cavaliers squad that shot just 38 percent from the floor with 20 points. The 13-year pro also had the unenviable task of checking Andrea Bargnani for most of the night.

“(The Raptors) create so many mismatches for us and to have a stretch-five like (Bargnani), it kind of goes back to why we’re productive on the offensive end, because we have (Jamison) to stretch out the defense,” said Kyrie Irving. “It makes it that much easier and opens up the lane that much more.”

In terms of matchups, Irving was fortunate enough not to face Jose Calderon, but still never got it going. The freshman point guard went 5-of-17 from the floor and finished with 14 points, adding seven assists and seven boards.

Alonzo Gee capped the Cavalier starters in double-figures, adding 16 points on just eight attempts from the floor. Gee was 7-of-7 from the stripe with six boards and a game-high four steals.

As he has been all season, Ramon Sessions was strong off the bench, going 6-for-9 from the floor for 16 points and leading the reserves with six assists and four boards.

Toronto shot an even 50 percent from the floor, including 42 percent from beyond the arc. They held a double-digit rebounding edge over Cleveland and held a 17-7 advantage on second-chance points. On the positive side of the Cavs ledger, they turned the ball over just eight times all night.

The Cavaliers travel to Wisconsin for the second half of their mid-week back-to-back. They’ll be facing a different Bucks team than they did on February 10, with Milwaukee consummating a trade that sent Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to Golden State in exchange for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and Kwame Brown on Tuesday night.

  • Tristan Thompson can legally enjoy a cold can of Milwaukee’s Best when the Cavaliers arrive in Milwaukee after the loss to Toronto. The No. 4 overall pick in this June’s draft turned 21 on Tuesday – celebrating on the court with nine points, three boards and a blocked shot. The birthday boy was 5-of-6 from the stripe.

  • Seen in the crowd on Tuesday, Cleveland native and current WWE star, Dolph Ziggler.

  • Luke Harangody and Christian Eyenga, who were assigned to Canton last week and don’t play again until the weekend, were mulling around the Cavs pregame locker room. Luke was named the D-League’s co-Performer of the Week, but Anthony Parker observed that it hasn’t gone to his head: “Luke hasn’t changed one bit,” joked A.P.

  • The Cavaliers fell a full game behind the Bucks and Knicks for the final playoff spot in the East. At 16-24, they’re even in the loss column with 26 games to play – including three more meetings with Milwaukee and two more with the Knicks.

  • Alonzo Gee has now recorded three or more steals in three out of his last four games.

  • For the second straight game, guard Kyrie Irving led the team in assists. Antawn Jamsion, conversely, failed to grab a rebound for the first time since November, 2009.