The Toronto Raptors were within one point with just under two minutes remaining in the first half when they suffered a monumental mental breakdown that allowed the Cleveland Cavaliers to take a strangle hold on the game. With the game close at 52-51, Toronto allowed the Cavaliers to go on an offensive surge that carried them into the third quarter and allowed Cleveland stretch their lead to 79-63. By the time the Raptors re-grouped in the fourth quarter the game was already out of reach.

A large reason for the Raptors collapse can be attributed to fatigue. Over the past week Chris Bosh, Morris Peterson, and Mike James have all seen extended minutes and it’s starting to leave them physically and mentally fatigued. Bosh started off the game on fire going 7 for 7 from field in the first quarter but cooled off in the second and third quarter. In the fourth quarter Bosh hit rock bottom when he missed six straight free throws to end the game.

One player that stepped up huge for the Raptors in the second half was Mike James. James started off the game slowly and only had 10 points before he changed his kicks early in the second half. After that the “Amityville Scorer” scorched the Cavaliers for 21 points and finished the game with 31 points and 8 dimes. As Mars Blackman used to say, “is it the shoes?”

Without question the player of the game for Cleveland was LeBron James. After getting booed by the hometown fans last week James was able to leave the court tonight to a standing ovation after he scorched the Raptors for 16 points, 11 boards, 8 dimes and a much needed win. Watching him play is a thing of beauty and I’m still dumbfounded as to why he was booed last week. I know that he went cold in the fourth quarter but it was just one game and this kid’s the only reason why the Cavaliers have a chance a making the playoffs. Why boo your top player because he has one bad quarter? I just don’t get it.


Tue 03/07/06, 9:58 pm EST



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