Raptors Snap Cavs Run
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.