First thing, and most important thing, first. Let us all, whether we are Cavaliers or Raptors fans, hope that Chris Bosh will be okay after his scary, and inadvertent, encounter with Antawn Jamison's elbow at the beginning of the first quarter tonight at Quicken Loans Arena. As of this writing Bosh is at the Cleveland Clinic, after having been examined by Cleveland's doctor Richard Parker in the Cleveland locker room. I am sure that there will be further updates on his condition later.
Best wishes Chris, for a complete and rapid bill of good health.
In a true team effort tonight, the Cleveland Cavaliers complicated the Toronto Raptors' playoff chances with a 113-101 victory. Seven of the eight Cavs who saw significant minutes scored in double figures, the only exception being Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but Z did chip in with five rebounds and an assist and was +2 when he was in the game, as he works his way back into shape after his long layoff.
The Cavs came out smoking in the first quarter, shooting a blistering 61% from the field, including 4 three's. Perhaps the brightest sign in the offensive outburst was the 5 out of 5 at the free-throw line, a welcome sight after significant struggling from the charity stripe in recent games. All of the good things combined to give the Cavs a 35-26 lead after the first stanza, although a pall hung over the game after Chris Bosh's injury just over two minutes in.
Toronto, in a desperate struggle with Chicago for the eighth and final playoff spot, valiantly stayed in the game in the second quarter without their star, as Jarrett Jack's 14 first half points helped the Raptors to slice what had once been an 11-point lead to a single basket heading into the intermission. Toronto scored seven of the final nine points of the quarter and trailed just 55-53 at the half. Cleveland continued to shoot well in the second quarter, cooling down, but just a little. Mo Williams and Lebron James led the way with ten points each, although every one of the Cavs' 20 points in the quarter came on 2-point baskets, as Cleveland went 0 for 4 from three-point land and 0 for 2 from the charity stripe. The Raptors, in the meantime, were 5 of 9 from "downtown" in the half, with one of those misses a 60-foot heave by Hedo Turkoglu at the second-quarter buzzer.
The third quarter belonged to Antawn Jamison and to Anthony Parker, who put a serious hurting on his former team tonight. Jamison scored ten quick points at the beginning of the quarter and Parker, by the end of the third quarter, had all of his 18 points, including 3 three-pointers, eight rebounds, and all but one of his six assists. The Cavs, all-in-all, shot a ridiculous 15 of 21 in the quarter, many of them lay-ups, as the Cavs had their way inside, and led, comfortably, 90-79 heading into the last twelve minutes.
The fourth quarter basically consisted of holding Toronto at bay. The Raptors flashed some hope at the beginning of the stanza, scoring the first four points, but the Cavs answered that with four of their own and Toronto never got closer than seven the rest of the way. When all was said and done the Cavs finished at 56% from the floor in an outstanding, well-rounded performance which also included 40% on threes and a tidy 79% from the foul line on 11 of 14 shooting.
Four Cavaliers finished with over 30 minutes tonight, led by Lebron's 35:34, and three more Cavs played between 25 and 30 minutes. Lebron also led the way with 13 assists, followed closely by Mo Williams with 12 dishes.
Good job to Anderson Varejao in his first game back from injury. Andy contributed 10 points, 4 boards and an assist. Welcome back...you are needed.
And Jawad Williams, what a game!...13 points, 5 rebounds and an assist. Way to bring it, Jawad.
Next up for Cleveland is a trip to Chicago on Thursday to play the Bulls, who let a huge opportunity to make up ground on Toronto go by the wayside tonight when they lost to the Andrew Bogut-less Milwaukee Bucks. Toronto remains a game ahead of the Bulls with five games remaining, one a head-to-head match between the two teams. The tie-breaker belongs to the Raptors, no matter what the result is of their upcoming game.