Damon Jones hit a bank-shot with 19 seconds left then sealed the deal with two free throws as the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Raptors 87-83 last night in Columbus Ohio. The loss drops the Raps to 2-4 in preseason play with 2 games remaining.
A positive sign for the team, even with the loss, was the play of oft-maligned center Rafael Araujo. "Hoffa" had 17 points and 8 rebounds and was perfect from the free throw line going 9 for 9. Hoffa has played fairly well in the past two games and will need to continue this effort to avoid being send to the Raptors' NBDL team in Arkansas. The Raptors newfound defence held Cavs' star Lebron James relatively in check most of the night as Morris Peterson and rookie Joey Graham hounded Lebron into only 5 of 15 shooting. Chris Bosh only played 19 minutes for the Raptors with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Bosh picked up 3 quick fouls early in the game and coach Sam Mitchell went with mostly rookies in crunch time.
The game vs. the Cavs meant the first time former Raptor Donyell Marshall played against his former mates. Marshall signed in the off-season with Cleveland. Marshall scored 14 points and added 10 rebounds in the Cavs win. Unlike another former Raptor Lamond Murray, Marshall had nothing bad to say about his former club. Marshall admitted that it "was a difficult time" for him last season, but he refused to bash the Raptors' team and management. Marshall also discussed his rationale for signing with the Cavs. While he loved the city of Toronto it was the on-court decisions that caused him to look elsewhere while he was a free agent...and the Cavs seemed to be a perfect fit for the long distance marksman. Lebron James personally recruited Donyell and was a big factor in his decision to sign with the Cavaliers.
The Raptors play tonight in Winnipeg against the Portland Trailblazers who are 1-4 so far in preseason play.