The Cleveland Cavaliers arrived in Toronto with high hopes of walking away with their first win of the season, it was Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani who would later put those hopes to rest.
Bargnani scored 28 points while Chris Bosh tallied up 21 points and 16 rebounds of his own as the Toronto Raptors came away with a victory in their home opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 101-91.
LeBron James led the way for the Cavaliers as he recorded his first triple-double (23 pts, 12 asts, 11 rebs) of the season. LeBron’s triple-double is bitter sweet as the Cavaliers open up the season 0-2 for the first time since the 2004-2005 season.
Early in my career, I’d get very upset when you lose two or three games, you’d just feel like you can’t turn it around. But I’m at a point in my career now where I know that you can lose two but, at the same time, you don’t look too far into it. You learn from the mistakes and you just try to get better.
I’m still positive. If it was 25 or 35 games into the season and we were going through a three- or four-game losing streak, then I’d be a little bit disappointed, but I’m not at this point.
For the second straight night, the Cavaliers had 4 of 5 starters score in double digits (O’Neal 12 pts, Parker 12 pts, Williams 16 pts). Shaquille O’Neal also snatched up 7 rebounds to go along with his 12 points.
It was nice to see a bit more production from the bench as Daniel Gibson had 12 points and 3 assists while former Toronto Raptor, Jamario Moon, had 9 points and 6 rebounds.
The story of the night was the surprisingly impressive play of Andrea Bargnani as he had 28 points and 5 rebounds. It was Bargnani and not Hedo Turkoglu who gave Cleveland a problem on defense. It was Bargnani’s speed and three point shooting ability that created problems for the defense. His speed allowed him to blow past O’Neal and Z throughout the night while his shooting ability allowed him to come off the pick and roll for the open shot.
Toronto proved to Cleveland that they’re able to play high-tempo basketball and are very capable of moving the ball in transition. It seemed like everyone was contributing for Toronto whether it be Bosh’s 16 rebounds or Jose Calderon’s 11 assists, everything was clicking.
It was a total opposite end of the spectrum for Cleveland however. It seemed like LeBron James had to do everything for Cleveland to be able to stay in the game as long as they did. Cleveland showed poor execution on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Offensively, the Cavaliers shot a horrendous 34.9% overall and a scary 64.9% from the line.
Coach Mike Brown was disappointed with his teams execution on both sides of the court and said that the team still has a lot of work to do.
There were stretches where we struggled offensively and there were stretches where we struggled defensively. To struggle the way we did on both ends of the floor is going to result in a loss.
The Cavaliers will look to avoid an 0-3 start and improve their season record to 1-2 on Friday as they square off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.