So the Raptors are the follow up act in town in Cleveland after the WWE like they were in Phoenix earlier in the season. I would put my money on the WWE being more entertaining, but who knows. The Cavs just a year plus removed from Lebron James being gone to South Beach are in a playoff race. It kind of depresses you as a Raptors fan. However unlike the Raptors Cleveland is getting to enjoy there goodies from the NBA draft in Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving. Things have really turned in a positive direction for Irving after a pretty mediocre start to his NBA Career vs the Raptors on December 26th. Now he looks like a contender for the Rookie of the year and with Ricky Rubio out for season that only adds to that case. Raptors have beat Cavs quite easily twice this season but I would put my money of Cavs in this one with no Calderon and an improved Irving.
Raps win the tip and some nice ball movement lead to fading jumper in the lane for DeRozan. Raptor then get a turn around jumper in the lane from Bargnani and an early 4-0 lead. The former Raptor for about 10 minutes Atwan Jamison gets the Cavs on the board with score 6-2. Cavs would start to battle back down just 10-9 as they were coming in riding high winners of three in a row. Anthony Parker with a steal on Bargnani and it lead to Alonzo Gee getting fouled and having a chance to give Cavs first leas of the night which he does making it 11-10 with 6:24 to play in first. Cavs would start to get some turnovers and that got them running and get points in transition they had a 17-12 lead on the strength of 13-2 run with 4 minutes to play in first. Dwane Casey had seen enough and called a time out. Gary Forbes checked in at point and Raptors responded with a couple baskets and cut Cavs advantage to 19-18. After Gray split a pair at the line Sessions drove scored and got the and one free throw to make it 22-19. A Gary Forbes jumper would make it a one point affair after this 1st quarter 22-21 Cavs.
Cavs get first two baskets of the quarter and just out to 26-21 lead. Barbosa hits a three to make this game a little tighter at 28-26. This was a close game but it really lacked any kind of excitement to it. Kinda of like living in Cleveland must be like. Barbosa was doing his thing in this one with two days to NBA trade deadline he was making some pro scouts drool no doubt. Cavs were trading buckets and flipping between a 5 point and 3 point advantage over the Raptors. Still the Raptors were hanging around and got on a bit of a roll and tied the game at 40 on a Bargnani jumper on the baseline. Later Bargnani on the drive scored to give the Raps a 44-42 lead and Bargnani 10 points in the half. Raptors were playing good defense and starting to pull away building a 9 point advantage 51-42. A Barbosa three pointer with under 30 seconds to play would make the lead 10. Cavs got a bucket and Amir Johnson looked gimpy but Raptors still had an eight point lead shooting 58%. and leading 54-46.
Raptors did a solid job hanging around than closing things out in the second and pulling away. James Johnson with a couple blocks to start the 3rd quarter. It took about 1:45 for anyone to score then Bayless nailed a three...Cavs counter with 2 and then another 3 from J.B. He is a true streaky player and shooter. Trending upwards at the moment as were the Raptors up 60-48. Kyrie Irving a three and that was first of night for Cavs and it seemed to spark them a little of a rally get them down a touchdown 62-55. Irving was trying to will his team back in this one but he was not getting a lot of help. Andrea Bargnani was starting to round into form in game number 3 in his return. Difficult leaner with contact and it goes and he draws the foul. Raptors were up 9 with the free throw to come. Raptors were hanging on up 69-63 with 2 to play in 3rd. Raptors close 3rd strong and lead 75-65 after 3.
Raptors were cruising along up 11 and Cavs seemed to have little fight. Casspi hit a three and got the game back to single digits with under 7 to play. But Bayless eventually answered that 3 he was 4-6 from behind the arc. Raptors seemed to have this one well under control. Cavs were making one final push and had game to 6 points with 2:40 to play and charge on Bayless. Cavs a sloppy turnover with a chance to cut it to a four point lead with about 1:30 to play. A Bargnani slam to give him 19 points would put this game to bed. Make the Final 96-88 for the men in red.
Raptors win their 14th of the season and 3 of those at the hands of the Cavs. A solid road win and it also is the 7th win on the road which is more than the Raptors had in a full season last year. A nice night for Bayless with 20 points and 7 assists and 19 for Bargnani in the best game of three he has played since returning. Raptors move on to face the Nets tomorrow night.