Raise you hand if you thought the Raptors had a chance to win last night without Chris Bosh? Well the Raptors almost did just that. The Cavs were without Shaq as well but it was still a pretty game effort from that Raptors. They push the Cavs to overtime before falling to them in overtime 126-118.
Lebron James poured in 36 including some key baskets down the stretch despite banging his knee a couple times in this game and playing through it. The Raptors had a number of great performances starting with Jarrett Jack and Andrea Bargnani with 24 each to lead the Raptors. Hedo Turkoglu had 18 points and a couple steals but it will be his play down the stretch of regulation that will leave some fans feeling flat about what he did. Turkoglu was suppose to be a closer for this team to make big shots and win games and he has failed in that role more then he has delivered as a Raptor.
The Cavs got great performances from Antwan Jamison who had 22 points and Mo William who was 6-11 from behind the 3 point line (including 2 in a row to start overtime) and had 22 points as well. Delonte West was the lone spark on the bench for Cleveland with 15 points. The Raptors got many performances off the bench. In total the Raptors bench outscored Cavs 42-25.
Reggie Evans lead the bench with 13 points. Sonny Weems had 10, Wright had 11 and Calderon had 8 points and lead the team with 8 assists. The Raptors really gave all they had without Bosh but it just was not enough. This may not result in a win in the standings for the Raptors, but it is something that can pay off down the line.
If Bosh were to get in foul trouble and Raptors have to play key stretches of games without him they have proven they can against the best team in the league. That could pay dividends come the stretch drive to the playoffs and in the playoffs themselves.
All of that being said the Raptors would really like to have their star back to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Bosh has being having the best season of his career. The Raptors have been very cautious wanting to make sure Bosh is 100% and can stay healthy down the stretch run. They will need him for sure.
So some fans may be disappointed by the loss last night, however in the big picture last night might have helped the Raptors in the long run. Jay Triano got to see how some guys play under pressure and respond to it. Raptors lost 2 straight at home for the first time in a longtime. They hit the road for a mini two game road trip with stops in OKC on Sunday and Houston on Monday in a back to back. Will Bosh be ready to roll? No idea but the Raptors play like they did vs Cavs they will have a chance to win if he isn't.