Notebook: Cavaliers 103, Raptors 92



Posted Feb 27, 2013 11:42 PM

By Brian Dulik, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters collected 23 points and six assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers posted a 103-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors Wednesday night. Point guard Shaun Livingston, starting for an injured Kyrie Irving, added 15 points and six helpers for Cleveland (20-38). The Cavs rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat Toronto at home for the first time since April 6, 2010. Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 34 points for the Raptors (23-35), while small forward Rudy Gay had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists. The Cavaliers played without their NBA All-Star point guard Irving, who has a hyper-extended right knee.

QUOTABLE: "We had to pick it up after the first quarter, so I just tried to facilitate things for my teammates and get my own shots off. I live for this -- that's what I like doing -- and I'm just glad to be in this position. I was ballin'."

-- Cavaliers shooting guard Dion Waiters

THE STAT: The Cavaliers finished February with a 7-5 record, marking just the second time they've had a winning month since LeBron James left the franchise as a free agent in July 2010. The other came in October 2012, when Cleveland went 1-0. "That team over there played as hard as anybody we've played against all year," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "Dion Waiters is a real handful, and they do a real nice job playing to the strengths of the guys they bring off the bench." After starting this season 7-25, the Cavaliers are 13-13 since the calendar turned to 2013.

TURNING POINT: The Raptors' starting lineup jumped out to a 21-7 lead as Cleveland missed 19 of its first 21 shots. When Casey made his first substitution -- replacing power forward Amir Johnson with center Andrea Bargnani -- with 3:26 left in the first quarter, things immediately went downhill. The Cavaliers outscored Toronto 50-27 in the remainder of the first half, taking a 57-48 lead into the break. "We can't play our starters 48 minutes, but I wish we could," Casey said. "They gave us tremendous effort and focus, but they've got to rest sometime."

QUOTABLE II: "In the second quarter, we couldn't get stops and we couldn't score at the same time. We can't even find or make an excuse for that, we've just got to get the job done."

-- Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan

HOT: The Cavaliers have won both of their games since Irving was put on the shelf with a minor right knee injury. Livingston is averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 assists in two starts as his replacement. ... Cleveland's bench outscored Toronto's substitutes 39-8 and outrebounded them 21-2. Cavaliers shooting guard Wayne Ellington scored 13 points, while power forward Luke Walton had five points, seven rebounds and a team-high seven assists in just 21 minutes. ... Cleveland made its first 20 free throws and finished the evening 30-for-32 from the line (93.8 percent).

NOT: Raptors center Bargnani -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft -- missed all four of his field goal attempts, did not score and had one rebound in 16 minutes. ... Toronto point guard Sebastian Telfair played eight minutes in his debut with the team, but his only statistical marks were four fouls. ... The Raptors shot 2-for-20 on 3-pointers and made 15 turnovers that the Cavaliers turned into 20 points. ... Cleveland shooting guard Daniel Gibson celebrated his 27th birthday, but picked up his 12th "Did Not Play -- Coach's Decision" of the season.

QUOTABLE III: "We're closing games out now and understanding what it takes to win. I think we've got a taste of it and the guys understand how hard it is and how much work goes into it. It's a lot of fun to be part of."

-- Cavaliers power forward Luke Walton

GOOD MOVE: Former Cavaliers majority owner Gordon Gund, who still holds a small stake in the franchise, attended his first home game this season. He was warmly greeted by current majority owner Dan Gilbert and longtime Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who now works in the Cavaliers' front office. "I'm very excited about how things are coming together," Gund said. "It reminds me very much of 1986 when we had four rookies in Brad Daugherty, Hot Rod Williams, Mark Price and Ron Harper, which was a darned good group."

BAD MOVE: Casey gave his post players specific defensive instructions during the Raptors' shootaround earlier in the day, but centers Jonas Valanciunas and Bargnani, in particular, did not follow them. "Some of our big guys did not rotate over when we needed them to tonight," a visibly frustrated Casey said. "We worked on that until our eyes turned blue this morning, but once the game started, it was like we never talked about it." Cavaliers guards Waiters, Livingston and Ellington exploited Toronto's slow footwork by drawing 18 free throw attempts.

NOTABLE: Irving underwent an MRI on his right knee Tuesday in Chicago, but it revealed no structural damage. The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year was injured in practice late last week and is listed as day-to-day. "I don't know if we'll see him Friday [against the Los Angeles Clippers], but I do know that would give him four days rest," Scott said. ... Cavaliers small forward Omri Casspi (appendectomy) is resting at home after being operated on Saturday in Orlando. No timetable has been set for his return. ... Raptors small forward Linas Kleiza (right knee soreness) missed his 28th game in a row, while small forward Mickael Pietrus was a healthy inactive for the second straight contest.

UP NEXT: For the Raptors, Friday vs. Indiana, Saturday @ Milwaukee, Monday @ Golden State. For the Cavaliers, Friday vs. L.A. Clippers, Monday vs. New York, Wednesday vs. Utah.