January 26, 2013 by bronasvalanciunas
The Raptors have come out mixing things up with a different look – their camouflage uniforms. However, the floor is painted white, so even the palest Raptors are visible in their new uniforms. In an achingly ironic twist, the Cleveland Cavaliers are dressed in white, allowing them to blend into the floor.
Both teams start out at a leisurely stroll, and the game quickly becomes 11-10 for the Cavaliers, thanks to inside scoring from Gee and Johnson that nullifies some early Raptors buckets.
Jack Armstrong and Matt Devlin (and mainstream media around the world) are still swooning over DeMar DeRozan’s buzzer beater to beat the Magic on Thursday night. That one shot almost makes up for his dismal January. It’s pretty much the equivalent of a deadbeat alcoholic husband buying his wife diamond earrings on her birthday. Except that the wife doesn’t have to pay her husband ten million dollars a season just to be with her. But then again, Raptors fans don’t have to clean up after a drunken DeRozan every night (I’m 85% sure about this).
DeMar capitalizes on some of that newfound confidence to dribble in from the corner and hit a gorgeous hook shot. He keeps it rolling and is now 5 for 6 on the night. How could we ever have doubted him? 19-13 Raptors.
Quincy Acy is in, as is Alan Anderson, who gets an impact steal right off the bat.
Acy then takes a looong jump shot. For the sake of narrative, let’s pretend it went in. He quickly redeems himself with a flying block on a Kyrie Irving lay up. Let’s pretend that Cleveland doesn’t pick up the loose ball and score an easy 2.
End of the first, 25-19 Raptors.
Acy comes back on the floor and gets another gigantic block, then runs back down the floor to get a fast break lay–up. Does anyone in the league put in more effort than Acy?
The officials realize that Acy is getting too good, and call him on a ghost foul. We can only assume it was for beard intimidation.
It’s now 35-28 on an Ed Davis post-up. Matt Devlin starts drooling, calls Ed Davis’ post move “unstoppable”, and then compares him to Michael Jordan. Even Jack Armstrong, clown prince of hyperbole, finds that comparison a bit much.
We’re then shown a touching shot of John Lucas addressing the crowd regarding Canadian Armed Forces night. He has become little more than a mascot to the Raptors these days.
Lowry hits an open 3 from way downtown, to cap a haphazard offensive sequence that saw Terrence Ross double-teamed on the sideline. 40-34 Raptors.
Amir does something. 43-34 Raptors.
I zone out for a moment, and the Raptors have a 5-4 offensive situation. Lowry wisely dishes it to basketball magician, Landry Fields, who produces a pass to Davis, who finishes with a dunk-in. How does Landry do it? And on a more existential level, why does Landry do it?
Alan Anderson is shooting free throws now, and looks like a bird doing it.
I don’t think Zeller (big white Cavs player) has done anything all game. Perhaps Dwane Casey keeps looking out at him on the floor and thinks Aaron Gray is out there, since Gray hasn’t seen any minutes yet this game (knock on wood).
Kyle Lowry is seen walking town the tunnel with an old white man. Looks like this is Jose’s ship now (at least until the end of the half).
The Cavs are now on an 8 point run, thanks to some statuesque defense from the Raptors, and the lead is cut to 2.
Then Ed Davis gets a dunk to finish off the half. Davis has led the team in points and rebounds this half, and he must he smiling inside, knowing he’s secured that halftime interview with fuzzy eccentric Rod Black.
End of Second Quarter, 50-46 Toronto.
The halftime will probably consist of boring analysis from boring people, so I’m not going to watch. However, I do catch Rod Black asking Ed Davis “How do you like those camels?” Vintage Rod Black.
Amir Johnson opens up the second quarter by wrenching the ball out of the feeble grasp of Dion Waiters. Waiters is so shook up that he misses a fast break lay-up on the following Cavaliers possession. Matt and Jack take this as an opportunity to make fun of Waiters for ten minutes (or make “constructive criticisms” about Waiters’ game, whichever you prefer).
Jack Armstrong just rhymed “lay-up” with “break the play up”. This is why we watch the Raptors.
Tristan Thompson just showed us his bobblehead in a special interview conducted in a dimly lit room.
Waiters shoots and misses, then thanks his lucky stars that he got the rebound, and proceeds to turn the ball over in a gesture of gratitude.
It’s now 67-61 Raptors, after Kyrie Irving hits a jumper, even though he’s contested by Jose’s limp left hand.
We get a shot of our European connection of Jonas, Linas, Andrea, and Mickael on the bench. None of them will play tonight, so they should all be wearing suits. However, Mickael the Menace is in his gym strip. Rogue.
Lowry, Acy, and Anderson have all stepped into the game.
Acy gets called for a hilarious goaltend on a Thompson two. I laugh about it from here until the end of the quarter. 75-66 after another quarter of mediocre basketball.
The Raptors get off to a fast start with a pretty passing play finished with an Acy dunk. With an 11 point lead early in the fourth quarter, expect the Raptors to get complacent.
It doesn’t take long for the Cavs to get back into it, as they go on a 12-0 run to make it 80-79 Cavs. What will Casey do?
More important than what Casey will do is what Ross does. He takes his first shot of the game, and hits a 3 to put the Raptors up by two.
After some hustle defense, Lowry dribbles the ball down the floor, takes some bumps, and then dishes to Amir for a sledgehammer dunk, the Raptors best of the game.
Terrence Ross tries to stop Kyrie Irving from getting to the basket but gets called for a foul. Ross hangs his head, knowing that Irving will hit his free throws. But before that, the officials stop the game to review the Ellington 3 on the previous play by the Cavs. Another completely unnecessary stoppage, in a league that is overflowing with ‘em (Ellington was half a foot outside the line!) Raptors down by four.
Ed Davis gets an o-reb putback to cut the lead to 2. The Raptors bigs have been doing the heavy lifting this evening, with Davis and Johnson combining for 32 points, 20 rebounds so far.
The clock ticks down, and after a Ross lay-up, Amir Johnson takes his cleaver and splits open the Cavs defense with another dunk. It’s now 96-94 Raptors.
The Raptors use their passing abilities to get the ball to Amir inside, but he’s hounded by the Cleveland bigs, and can’t finish. Kyrie Irving dribbles up the other end, through the entire Raptors team and lays it in.
With 33 seconds left, the Raptors get the ball and Jose dillies, dallies, and drives to the rim to give the Raptors a two point lead with 12 seconds left.
Cleveland gives the ball to Irving, and everyone in the building (or at least Matt and Jack) expects the high screen. Instead, Irving just stands about six feet behind the three-point line, waits until there’s about 3 seconds on the game clock, then throws up a bloody long 3. Alan Anderson (who was guarding him) just stands and watches it go in. A ballsy play, to say the least.
0.7 seconds left and the Cavs are up by 1.
Jose tries to throw it up to Amir, but it’s not happening tonight as Amir gets bullied out of the way by the Cavs.
Another fourth quarter meltdown capped by a magnificent final shot by Irving, who kept the Cavs in it all night long.
Final Score: 99-98 Cavaliers.
Game Goat (poor): Kyle Lowry. Meh. He did pick up 7 assists, and played some good defense, but too often just settled for a tough shot on offense, on a night when his shot just wouldn’t fall.
Game Toad (interesting): Quincy Acy. Blocks, dunks and hustles every game. But it’s a special night when we get to see him taking long jump shots.
Game Bench (good): Ed Davis. He and Johnson were getting easy dunks and big rebounds all game long, but the edge here goes to Ed Davis because I like his moustache.