“It’s part of the job,’’ Turkoglu said of being in foul trouble. “Sometimes you have to deal with it. You try to get involved, help your teammates, then you get stupid fouls.
“I just have to put this behind. Individually, I couldn’t do very much to help this team.”
For a team known for its defence, Cleveland didn’t defend very well, perhaps feeling the effects of playing for the first time since returning from its western swing.
When they locked in, the Cavs held the Raptors scoreless on six successive possessions late in the third quarter, setting the tone for the balance of the night.
LeBron James, who missed four straight shots in the fourth quarter, flushed home an uncontested dunk to give the Cavs a 102-94 lead.
James came within one rebound from recording his second triple-double against the Raptors this season. His 28 points led all scorers. His 11 assists led all players, while King James’ nine boards were a team high.
Backup wing Sonny Weems was a last-minute scratch when he strained his rib cage during the pre-game warmup. Weems has been a revelation for the Raptors this season, often infusing energy and athleticism when called upon off the bench. Weems' inability meant the Raptors activated seldom-used backup centre Patrick O'Bryant.
Well, I think Jay liked the way Belinelli was going last night, he was hitting shots and getting in the paint and he’s a longer, more active defender than Jarrett.
And, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, I think Jose’s a better option at running the offence and, with the Cavs collapsing on Bosh every time he touched the ball when he was posted up, having Calderon on the perimeter to take an open three is much more desirable than having Jack.
On one key possession, Calderon did in fact get an open three that he didn’t knock down and I, and I’m sure the coaching staff, would rather he get it than Jack.
That’s not a knock against Jarrett, who does a lot of things well, but Jose’s shooting something like 50 per cent from the field since he’s been back; that’s the shooter I want on the court.
"That's my goal, the game after all-star," Evans said. "My spirit's real high. My energy is getting there. … But don't congratulate me just yet."
Evans, whose rugged absence has been frequently lamented by Bryan Colangelo, the Toronto general manager who acquired him for Jason Kapono in an off-season trade, has yet to return to full-contact practising.
But Evans said he has been encouraged by the results of his rigorous rehabilitation to the damaged ligaments in his left foot.
On Tuesday Evans, 29, said he was put through a workout that involved quick, random cutting and "a little sprinting."
He said the foot remains relatively "weak." But it's as strong as it has been since he suffered the injury in an Oct. 14 pre-season game.
This is not to be savagely critical of the Raptors, who played a decent game and came into the evening having won 10 of their 13 previous games. But if Toronto is serious about winning a playoff series it'll need to score timely hoops with the defence on high alert. And while the jump shot will obviously be a big part of that attack, it can't be the only part.
"We took too many jump shots late in the game," said Antoine Wright, the Raptors swingman. "Our coaches have to emphasize for us to stay aggressive and keep driving the ball. You can see down the stretch, LeBron getting to the line (knowing) that he has to be the aggressor. … Sometimes it is difficult, though. You see three or four guys down there, and the smart play is to take that jump shot. But we probably have to do a better job of drawing up some plays to get to the basket. That would help us."
Who's hot? Andrew Bogut is a fringe all-star, averaging career highs in points, rebounds and blocks. He had 18 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks in a loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday.
Who's not? Brought into compete for a starting spot, Hakim Warrick is shooting just 46% from the floor, his lowest accuracy since his rookie season.
Hear from Shaquille O'Neal after the Cavs' 108-100 win over the Raptors. Shaq scored 16 points in the victory.
With the Raptors (21-21) blitzing the Cavs' interior defense and racking up huge points during the first half, it was O'Neal who helped stem the tide. Not only did he pick up his defense but twice during the third quarter he body slammed Raptors who were trying to drive to the hole.
Once it was Jarrett Jack and then it was DeMar DeRozan, both of whom will probably wake up sore on Wednesday. In the first half, the Raptors scored 60 points overall and 24 points in the paint and Chris Bosh, their star forward, had 16 points. In the second half with O'Neal and others making an effort and sending messages, Toronto got just 40 points, eight in the paint. Bosh, meanwhile, went quiet and finished with just 21 points.
They say defense wins championships, not ratings, but I have to disagree. I like watching our team get stops, force missed shots, and steal possessions. That's what the Cleveland Cavaliers pride themselves upon.
So tonight's game wasn't easy for me to watch. Granted, for two quarters, it played out much better than our pathetic game at Toronto in the second game in the season. We were outscored by double digits in the first half and never got close enough again in that game. Tonight, all the Cavs looked happy to be done with the West Coast and back home, especially Hickson, Parker, and Varejao.
But we could never halt Toronto's shooting until the third quarter, when our defense began to work and we built an 8 point lead. Toronto cut it to 3 with LeBron and Mo on the bench, and the refs made several debatable calls at best, but the Cavs showed the poise of the East's top team and the Raptors did not down the stretch, and we finally put the game away in the final minute.
"It was a tale of two halves for us. We felt as a staff offensively that we were getting good looks from the field and we were sharing the basketball, we were moving the ball. To have 27 assists on 38 buckets is a good night. That was there. It was there in the first half. What we were lacking in the first half was a physical presence. There were too many blow-bys, too many straight-line drives in the first half for a team that shoots jump shots and shoots them very well. They had (24) points in the paint and that's not who we are and not who we want to be. I thought in the second half, we (fixed) that area up. Our guys did a nice job and they scored eight points in the second half in the paint. We've been a good team in that area, but our physical presence in the second half was very evident as compared to the first half. I thought that was the difference in the game."
"We had to get stops in order to win this game," James said. "We put our hard hats on and did it the right way in the second half."
O'Neal even switched on defense a couple times and prevented perimeter players from scoring.
"We aren't afraid to switch him onto smaller guys," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "That's a big man you have to score over.
"He made (Hedo) Turkoglu drive on him and try to score over him with his left hand. That was a big play during the game."
Turkoglu, a major free-agent signing in the offseason, didn't earn his high salary on this night. He had as many turnovers (three) as points.
Toronto star Chris Bosh, a free agent this summer, might be traded. The Raptors also could keep Bosh and ship him this summer in a sign-and-trade deal.
Houston has been mentioned as a Bosh suitor. So has Oklahoma City. That’s highly unlikely.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti repeatedly has said he’s building for the long term. That’s why it’s doubtful Presti would trade for a player who could sign elsewhere in July.
Key stat: The Cavaliers outscored the Raptors 50-32 in the paint, holding the Raptors to eight points in the paint in the second half.
Key moment: A 15-6 run at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth gave the Cavs some separation and momentum.
Thomas' three stars:
1. LeBron James, Cavs, 28 points, nine rebounds, 11 assists.
2. Mo Williams, Cavs, 22 points, 10 assists.
3. Chris Bosh, Raptors, 21 points, 10 rebounds, three assists.
Chris Bosh netted 21 points, but just five in the second half, while Italy`s Andrea Bargnani added 19 for Toronto (21-21) which went scoreless for nearly the final three minutes to lose for only the fourth time in the last 14 games.
'They did a better job of clamping down defensively,' Bosh said. 'We had a couple of mishaps down the stretch and they made us pay for it.'
After building a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter, the Cavs started standing around. The Raptors went on an 11-4 run to draw within 95-94 on a lay-up by Italian-native Marco Belinelli with just over seven minutes remaining.
“They were getting a lot of (layups in the first half),” O’Neal said. “We came in at halftime and Coach and LeBron (James) jumped on us, and we really wanted to pick it up.”
Led by O’Neal, the Cavs picked it up. The Raptors got just four field goals in the paint and shot 38.9 percent from the floor in the second half. That’s after scoring 24 points in the paint and shooting 55.3 percent the first half.
“Our physical presence in the second half was evident … and I thought that was the difference,” Brown said.
O’Neal wasn’t afraid to deliver a hard foul in shutting down the paint on defense, while also coming up with some big offensive plays late.
“His presence in the paint on both ends of the floor was big for us,” Brown said.
The Spaniard came off the bench to score just six points on 2-of-9 shooting, but also added a team-high six assists and two steals. Jack was more efficient from the field going 4-of-6 for 11 points, but he played less of a role as a ball distributor dishing out only three dimes. We keep hearing that Jack is going to remain as the starting point guard for the Raps, but really does that even matter? Look at how Jay Triano has handled DeMar DeRozan. I know it's two totally different situations, but in this rotation "starter" doesn't mean more minutes. Calderon is less valuable now than he was on draft day, but he's more valuable than he was a week ago. I could see buying low on Calderon. Just don't give away any of your top point guard talent to get him. Something like a Jameer Nelson-Jose Calderon deal might work.
Matt and Jack move on to Milwaukee, where the Raptors close out a back-to-back against the Bucks on Wednesday.
Jarrett Jack speaks with the media following the Raptors' loss to the Cavaliers.
The Raptors head coach speaks with the media following his team's loss to the Cavaliers.
Again, it still baffles me how we totally went away from what was keeping us in the game in the first place, and that's taking it to the basket. Why put in a struggling Turkoglu for Antoine Wright, who had seemingly made it his mission to drive into the lane? Why keep a tentative Jose Calderon on the court when Jack seemed to be on tonight? Both Jack and Wright don't view their outside shot as their strength, and yet they were not placed on the floor when the Raps finally cut it down to 3 after trailing by 10 in the 4th quarter. The only sub I didn't mind was Marco for DeRozan, who was being outmatched on the defensive end.
The Bucks don’t do a lot of back to backing, at least they haven’t yet this year. After the up-coming couplet with Toronto, the Bucks have double takes with Miami and Washington later on this year. In the interest of avoiding repetitiveness, this preview is intended to cover the both of the Raptors games. In reward for your going along with this, I’ll do my best to cook up a fun little feature in lieu of a preview before the Raps game on Friday.
it’s also fair to speculate that the ever-aggressive Colangelo may seek to balance his rotation after overhauling it last summer.One potential move would be to trade point guard Jose Calderon (making a reasonable $8.2 million with three years remaining) in order to put the ball in the hands of Hedo Turkoglu.which would make better sense of Toronto’s $53 million offseason investment in him.Could that kind of deadline deal improve the Raptors over the second half and persuade Bosh to stay?
If Bosh decides he is going to leave Toronto.then the next option would be to pursue sign-and-trades for him while anticipating a larger role for Bargnani.Since the second half of last season.Bargnani has been improving a low-post game that was nonexistent when he was drafted out of Benetton Treviso of the Italian league.
Some of the improvements on defense were caused by the different rotation. Antwan Wright is still averaging only 15 MPG but he’s coming in for Hedo Turkoglu much earlier. Also the injury that sidelined Jose Calderon allowed Jarrett Jack to start and Jack is much more physical PG that does a much better job on defense. Now that Calderon is back, he’s coming off the bench but he’s still the one playing on clutch time, like seen yesterday against the Cavaliers, probably the reason why they never got the key stop down the stretch.
“We were a bit more physical on the defensive end and got stops (in the second half),” said James. “We had to get stops in order to win this game. For them to have 60 points (at half) and end up with 100 – as well as they shoot the ball, as good as they are offensively – that’s a good performance by us in the second half.”
Mo Williams enjoyed some home cooking – shaking off a difficult trip to double-up with 22 points and 10 assists. Cleveland’s All-Star guard was 7-for-15 from the floor, 4-of-8 from long-distance.
Shaquille O’Neal rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 16 points, joining an exclusive club in the process.
The high-scoring Raptors had six players in double-figures, led by Chris Bosh, who doubled-up with 21 points and 10 boards in the loss.
Honorable Mention to Demar Derozan. The Kid is starting to play with confidence and is earning his minutes. He played another great game tonight and is hopefully turning the corner this year as he heads to a very important second half for himself and the Raptors. He could be a big part of the success of the Raptors down the stretch.