Raptors Rewind- Welcome To Second Half Edition

The Raptors ironically start the second half of season begins for the Raptors the same as the first vs the Cleveland Cavs. This time on the road in the home of the Rock and Roll hall of fame....Cleveland Ohio. Shaq with just 1 basket will reach 28,000 points in his career that has spanned 4 teams and many awards both team and individually along the way. Raptors have as I mentioned this morning lost 9 straight games at the Cleveland. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games and the eyes of America will be watching on NBA-TV as this is just 1 of 2 games in the NBA after a busy schedule on the MLK day holiday in the United States. Big challenge for the Raptors so let's see how they make out.

1st Quarter

Raptors win the tip but fail to score and LBJ drives to the basket scores and draws an early foul on Hedo Turkoglu. Cavs would make it 2 straight baskets and Shaq had his milestone. A second quick foul on Hedo and he did not last 2 minutes in the first quarter. Demar Derozan finally got Raps on the board with a jumper to break a 6-0 Cavs run to start the game. Bosh would find DD to make it back to back buckets for the rookie from USC. Bargnani scored and was fouled but could not make the and 1. But the run would not stop as Demar an early 6 points. Shaq and Bosh trade baskets Raps had an early 10-8 edge. Mo Williams and Cris Bosh trade 2 point efforts and the Raps after a slow beginning trading blow for blow with the Cavs.

J.J Hickson missed on an alley oop earlier but drove to the basket and scored with Bargs on him. Jack would score to restore the 2 point lead. Mo Williams would even it up at 16 all. Call off the shooting guard search as Demar DeRozan on fire with 8 early with another basket this one in the paint. Mo Williams hit a corner 3 and Wright answered with a quick 2 as he was seeing early time thanks to Hedo's quick two fouls. Raptors looking solid up 20-19. Am I crazy to think the Cavs might be the best match-up for the Raptors come April? A win tonight and maybe not.

Big Z in the game and hit a jumper to give the Cavs the lead 21-20. Lebron draws contact and gets to the line extends the lead to 3 at the line. Wright obvious upset about his F grade in the DNB midterm ratings score and is fouled and ties it up at 23. Heir Canada lives and keep the game tied after a Cleveland score to make it 25 all we are under 2 to go in an entertaining first quarter. Andrea Bargnani for 3 and it goes...Raps on top 28-25. But Lebron James would drive score draw the foul and make the and 1....After 1 and it was even at 28.

2nd Quarter

Cavs shooting 61% but only tied with the Raptors. D needs to pick it up but Raps are hanging with the Cavs. Teams trade buckets to make it 30 all. Delonte West hit a 3 off a broken play and Hedo off the bench with an answer for 3. Raptors lead 35-34. Marco Belinelli back from the flu a long 2 would make it a 3 point lead. Raps are having some issues as Mo Williams the latest to nail a 3 from corner and Cavs on top 39-37. Jose Calderon a nice jumper for 2 and Shaq puts the Cavs back on top with the 2 and was fouled but it's Shaq no and 1.

Marco Belinelli appears to be healthy as he slams one down to to give Raps a 42-41. Raptors were battling hard with the Cavs and Shaq gave Chris Bosh a love tap let's call it. CB4 answers with his jumper and Raps lead 46-45. He would get to the line later and again give Raps lead back at 48-47. Bosh is the Raptors answer with 10 in the corner and for 3 rd straight time giving the Raps the lead back. Then back to back baskets would make it a 3 point lead 52-49 Raps. Hedo gets his 3rd foul and teched up and good bye Hedo at least for rest of the half. Cavs would make the Tech and would go on to take the lead 53-52. James was getting the benefit of some calls and the Raptors were getting frustrated and now Wright would get teched up. The Cavs as result had built a 5 point advantage with score 57-52. Andrea a big 3 late has cut lead to just 2 with score 59-57. Ex-Raptor A.P answers with 3. However Wright would answer that with 3. Defense not on the menu as Cavs lead 62-60.

3rd Quarter

Raps are putting on a solid show for the folks south of the border but could they shock the folks tuning in on NBA-TV? Shaq and Jack trade buckets and were off and running in the 3rd. Bosh a score he has 18 already and Mo Williams answers with a long 2. G-Tech team up as Jack answers with a 3 ball and Raptors buzzing down just 1 with score 68-67. LBJ was dropping dimes as well as buckets his 7th dime of the night a great pass to Hickson for a dunk. Demar DeRozan show NO FEAR as he drives it at Shaq and gets whacked and head to line and drains a pair. But some vintage A.P with Parkerville Court in Cleveland now as he dials up a 3. Later though Anrea Bargnani would answer with a 3 and we were tied at 73.

Jarrett Jack is fearless as well as he also drives and get walloped by the Big Shaq Diesel. This was a heck of a battle going on. Demar DeRozan would give the Raps the lead. But Anderson Varejao would score and draw a foul to tie the game at 77 with his free throw to come after a time out. Varejao would make the and 1 and Raps a quick miss and James score. James miss and Varejao put back lead climbs to 5. Bargnani breaks up the run only to have Williams hook up James for the easy score. Jack and Parker trade baskets and Cavs lead 86-81. Amir Johnson in the game and making an impact with a block on Varejao. Raptors were is a battle trailing 86-83 to the Cavs.

Mo Williams another corner 3 as he must have a rental agreement with Parker on Parkervillie court...Hit a big 3 and Cavs have a 6 point lead. Moments later Williams would check out of game clutching his shoulder. Raptors were struggling to close out the 3rd as the lead had expanded to 8. A Lebron James turnaround 3.....NO....Whew...Raps escape quarter still down 8.

4th Quarter

Raptors will need a strong push if they want to stay in the running to win the game. Raps went the last 3:52 of the 3rd without a field goal. Marco Belinelli starting the quarter strong with 2 then later a 3 ball and Calderon would score and Raptors had cut lead to just 3.Cleveland call a time out and turnover the basketball out of time out. Hedo tries for 3 to tie and his struggles continue as he missed. Bargnani the big block and the long 2 Raptors on a 9-0 run and down just 1. A costly turnover for CB4 and Cavs score in transition to end the run.

Marco Belinelli making and impact in his return to the line up as he makes the pretty reverse lay up as he leaked out on the break. Bosh another turnover on let's just say a suspect offensive 3 second call. Raptors sitll down just 1 with score 95-94. Mo Williams back in the game and shoulder must be ok as he nails a 3. Hedo a miss and Cavs make them pay. 100-94 Cavs a Lebron James slam makes it 102-94 and Cavs answering the bell with a 7-0 run.

Raptors had been fought hard the whole night long but down the stretch Cavs looking like the Eastern Conference leaders that they are. Still over 3 minute to play but Cavs looking well in control of things. However Raps refusing to go away as they trail 104-100. Jose Calderon does to one thing well on D at times and that is drawing charges and he draws a key one down the stretch in this one. Bosh has been muted by the Cavs with just 3 points in the half and he attempted a jumper and missed it. James draws a foul and that is 5 on Andrea and James makes the free throws and the lead is 6. In the final moments Demar Derozan getting minutes worth noting. Bosh another costly turnover late and that will likely seal it.

Raptors will not find the winners circle on this night but it was a good effort overall with some glaring exceptions but overall this team hung with the best team in the East. Raptors fall 108-100 and are 21-21 but they did show they can hang with just about anyone. If you are honest with yourself did you actually think the Raptors would win tonight? The answer is likely know. But they did play a good competitive game for 4 quarters and that is something to build from. People will take Hedo and Bosh to task no doubt. However Raptors got great contributions from Bellinelli and Wright with a combined 26 points which made up for some of that. There is really not much folks can say to defend Hedo with just 3 points in a big game. He was in part brought in for his ability to perform in the clutch and in big games. As a Raptor we have seen little of that. In terms of Bosh he had a really bad second half after getting off to a great start and looked on pace to have a great night through 2.

When you take who you were cheering for out of the equation that was a very entertaining basketball game and folks on NBA TV in the U.S got to see a solid performance from Canada's NBA team.

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