On a night where the Canadian World Junior Hockey Team held a relatively safe lead, and squandered it to the Russians, it was the Raptors who were doing the exact opposite; as they battled back from an early deficit to comfortably win on the road in Cleveland
The Raptors came into the latter half of a back to back on the heels of a rough loss in Chicago. They were in need of a win and were boosted by the recent returns of Amir Johnson and Andrea Bargnani to the starting lineup.
If there was any team that they could have picked to play during such a tough stretch, it would probably have been Cleveland. The Cavs are one of the few teams worse than the Raptors and came into Wednesday's game with their win column still in single digits. Though not quite with the swagger of Rasheed Wallace, Matt Devlin called a victory before tipoff.
However, all did not go to plan early in the game, as the Cavs clearly hadn't read the script. They raced out to an early lead and were up by 12 at the end of the 1st quarter. It looked like the Raptors' season was going to hit a new low, as uncontested three's were dropping like its hot from all angles.
Like the hockey game, the lead that the Cavs held was eventually overturned in emphatic fashion. The Raptors started the 2nd quarter on fire as Bargnani and Barbosa each took turns going on scoring runs to get them level by the half.
The decision which turned the tide in this game had to be Triano putting Julian Wright in the game, and then surprisingly sticking with him for the rest of it. Wright was playing like a man possesed as he defended Jamison well, initiated the fast break with some great outlet passes, and finished around the rim when given his chances on offense.
It perplexes many Raptors fans as to why Triano continually gives heavy minutes to Linas Kleiza. While one can argue that he is more talented offensively than Wright, his skill set is eerily reminiscent of Andrea Bargnani, except he is 4 inches shorter. Tonight's game showed the balance that Wright can bring when given an opportunity to contribute, and Kleiza's best role may be that of a bench scorer alongside Barbosa.
Midway through the 4th quarter DeMar DeRozan's head landed on the hardwood after a midair collision with Ryan Hollins, which was (surprise) a no-call. He lay on the ground for a couple of minutes before getting up and staying in the game. What is even more impressive, is that he scored 9 straight points immediately afterwards.
The game would end 120-105, as we were all treated to a Solomon Alabi appearance in its closing moments. The Raptors continue their road trip on Friday in Boston, as they look to split the season series with the Celtics.
- Add Anderson Varejao to the list of Leo Rautins' man-crushes right next to Jared Dudley.
- Yes Wright, Calderon and Barbosa had big games but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Great result but remember who we were playing.
- Bill and Andy, traveling Raptors fans, received a solid minute of attention from our amazing commentators
- Why did Matt Devlin make such a big deal about the fact that Toronto hadn't won in Cleveland since 2004 when we won. This team and those previous teams are totally different.
- The Rajon Rondo the Toronto Raptors will see on Friday night is not the same Rondo we saw on Sunday, check his stat line from Wednesday's game.