Sluggish Start Sinks Raptors Against Cavs
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April 6, 2011
TORONTO (AP) -- J.J. Hickson scored 28 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-96 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in a game between teams playing out the story lines on similar seasons.
Jerryd Bayless scored 28 points for the Raptors (21-57), who have four games left in their disappointing season. DeMar DeRozan added 19 points, while Reggie Evans had a season-high 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Sonny Weems finished with 17 points.
Baron Davis added 19 points for the Cavs (17-61), while Ramon Sessions chipped in with 15, Ryan Hollins finished with 14, and Alonzo Gee added 10.
With LeBron James leaving Cleveland last summer and Chris Bosh bolting Toronto to join him in Miami, both teams have endured miserable seasons.
"They're in the same boat as us, developing young players, trying to play hard and finish off the season," said Raptors coach Jay Triano.
The Raptors, battling fatigue in their fourth game in five nights and missing the services of Andrea Bargnani and Amir Johnson, trailed from the outset, digging themselves a 22-point, first-half hole with sluggish shooting and a token defensive effort.
The crowd of 14,886 booed when Gee drove effortlessly to the net for a slam dunk midway through the second quarter. The Cavaliers led 77-64 heading into the fourth.
Toronto briefly made a game of it, pulling within five points on a 3-pointer by Weems with just over eight minutes left in the game. But three long jump shots from Davis and a 3-pointer from former Raptors guard Anthony Parker sealed the victory.
The Raptors left the court to a smattering of boos after their loss to the last-place team in the Eastern Conference.
Bargnani's sore right ankle kept him out of his fourth game of the last six, while Johnson didn't play after his troublesome ankle swelled up during warmup.
There were some tense moments late in the third quarter when former Raptor Joey Graham took a run at James Johnson and had to be held back by teammates. Johnson had caught Graham in the face with a block attempt, and was assessed a flagrant foul. Graham, who had three points, received a technical.
Fatigue was obvious in the Raptors' sluggish first quarter that saw them shoot 29 percent and trail by as much as 12 points. The Cavs took a 28-17 lead into the second.
Toronto couldn't contain Cleveland in the second quarter as the Cavaliers shot 59 percent and maintained a double-digit lead. Hickson's free throws stretched the Cavs' advantage to 22 points before a slam dunk by Toronto's Alexis Ajinca cut the Cavs' lead to 60-40 at halftime.
NOTES: Evans' previous season high was 13 points. ... The Raptors are in Philadelphia on Friday to face the 76ers, then back home Sunday to host the New Jersey Nets. Toronto plays at Milwaukee on Monday then wraps up its season next Wednesday at home against Bosh and the Heat.