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Posted Dec 5 2006 4:50PM
Cleveland hasn't shot the ball well all season, but in its last outing, the team hit a new low.
The Cavaliers look to bounce back from a disastrous offensive effort when they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Cleveland (10-7) ranks near the bottom of the league with a .443 shooting percentage and 94.9 points scored per game. The Cavs nearly broke a team record by shooting 28.2 percent in Saturday's 81-63 loss at Houston.
They failed to reach 20 points in any quarter and eclipsed their previous season low for points by 24. Cleveland scored a franchise-low 59 points in 1997 against San Antonio.
Coach Mike Brown credited Houston, which came into the game with the league's top scoring defense, and a number of players said it was the best the Cavs had seen all season.
``For us to only score 63 points and shoot 25 percent from the field, you know that team's defense had a lot to do with it, and I give them a lot of credit,'' Brown said. ``We tried a lot of different things, and none of them seemed to work. It had to do with how good of a defensive team they are.''
Cleveland star LeBron James, who scored 21 points but made just 7-of-22 shots from the field, said the offense deserved its share of the blame.
``Most of the shots we missed were good looks or shots we usually make,'' said James, who is averaging 27.4 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting.
Cleveland was coming off a 106-95 win at Atlanta in which it reached 100 points for just the fifth time this season. The Cavs have failed to score 90 points in five of their 17 games.
Cleveland could have a chance to bounce back against the Raptors (7-10), who are allowing opponents to shoot 46.9 percent and score 101.0 points per game, ranking them near the bottom of the league. Toronto has given up at least 100 points in each of its last three games.
The Raptors, though, have won four of their last five, including Saturday's 103-100 victory at New York. T.J. Ford had 20 points and 10 assists and helped the Raptors hold off a late Knicks rally, while Chris Bosh, who leads the team with 21.1 points and 12.2 rebounds per game, had 26 points and 13 boards.
``I just understand that there's two people who are going to have the ball, either me or Chris,'' Ford said. ``One of us has to make a play. And I just wanted to continue to build the confidence in my teammates to know that down the stretch, if we need a play or we need a shot ... they're going to have just as much confidence as I have in myself that I'm going to make the right play.''
Toronto has won two of three on the road after losing its first seven away from home this season.
The Raptors beat the Cavaliers 95-87 on Nov. 22, ending a four-game losing streak in the series. Bosh had 25 points and 14 rebounds, while James had 30 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Toronto has lost three straight and five of its last seven visits to Cleveland.
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