The Raptors head to Cleveland and were looking to extend their winning streak to three. They would face a Cleveland team that had lost three in a row and saw the Raptors as a way to end that streak. It led to a pretty gritty throw back game. Here are some thoughts on what went down at the Q:
Double A: Alan Anderson may never reach the level of fame of Arn Anderson. That said his return has coincided with this Raptors turnaround and he has been a big factor in the winning for the Raptors. He led the scoring off the bench with 18 points going 6-12 and 5-7 from three point range. That is only part of the story with him though. He is kind of doing everything. His D is solid if there is a loose ball he finds it. He is just that glue guy the Raptors hoped Landry Fields would be. Fields was able to return tonight but was not needed. We are so excited about Alan Anderson were doing a contest to get him a better nickname than double A. So chime in on Twitter with hash tag #TWIRAA and give us you best Alan Anderson nickname or leave one in the comments. Winner will take home some Chicken Wings from at St Louis Wings.
Bench Mob: The Raptors bench out scored Cleveland 59-21 if you are looking for a key to the game that is it. Four guys in double figures along with Anderson you had Amir Johnson with 17, John Lucas III with 11 and Kleiza with 10. The bench played heavy minutes into the fourth quarter and not only maintained the lead they extended it.
Calderon Battles Irving to a Draw: Calderon and Irving was a great match-up and it was closer than many though it would be. Calderon was perhaps a touch better than the Cavs Rookie star. He had 2e points going 10-15 from the field with 5 rebounds 6 assists. He did have 4 turnovers but made up for that with 2 steals. Irving was equal in scoring with 23 points he had 7 assists but 5 turnovers and 3 steals going 9-16 from the field. That is a win for the Raptors if Jose can hang with Irving from a production standpoint.
Hard Fouls: The Raptors dished out some hard fouls. They made it pretty clear to Cavs that this was going be a long night for them. The Raptors did get a few terrible whistles against them but they just kept making things difficult for the Cavs. Anderson Varejao maybe most of all was taking the beating. He had 22 points and 10 rebounds which likely sounds like a good night. Consider he averages 16 boards a night leading the NBA. The Raptors sent him to the line 16 times. He made 12 of his 22 points there. It was nothing to dirty although Amir Johnson did get called for a flagrant at one point. It was just hard nosed Bad Boys Pistons style ball something Amir knows all about from his time with the Pistons.
DeRozan Steady: DeMar DeRozan has learned that without Andera Bargnani in the line-up he doesn’t have to do everything. He has handled the added attention better and his 16 points and 5 rebounds with a couple of steals is a nice night. What might open some eyes for those paying closer attention is 4 assists from DeMar. He along with this entire team did an excellent job of moving the basketball tonight.
So the Raptors come home to face the Pistons tomorrow with only their 2 win of the season on the road and riding a 3 game win streak with 113-99 win out scoring the Cavs 35-23 in the final quarter. Bargnani and Kyle Lowry are firmly catching the blame for all the Raptors struggles by just simply being absent during this winning streak.