The Cleveland Cavaliers saw their three-game winning streak come to a halt after a 96-88 loss at Quicken Loans Arena to the Toronto Raptors for the third time this season
The Cavaliers (16-24) almost went into the half with the lead, but the Raptors (14-28) were red hot shooting the ball to end the half. Toronto shot 12/13 from the field to end the second quarter and the Cavaliers found themselves down eight instead of up five.
It didn’t help that Anthony Parker hasn’t been a scoring threat ever since he has come back from his injury and center Ryan Hollins never puts up big numbers when coach Byron Scott calls on him to be a starter. On the bright side, Antawn Jamison prolonged his streak to eight games of scoring 20 points or more, Alonzo Gee proved again why he should be a starter and Ramon Sessions had another big game off the bench.
Gee’s rise from the bench and Omri Casspi’s demotion to the sideline. Casspi, who has played in all 40 games, has only scored more than 10 points nine times all season. Gee, who has mostly come off the bench in all 40 games, has cored more than 10 points 22 times. Even though J.J. Hickson hasn’t lived up to the Sacramento Kings expectations, I still think Cleveland would have been better off sticking with the big and physical Hickson instead of the non-aggressive and under-producing Casspi.
As for Parker, since coming back from his injury on Feb. 28 he has averaged only 6.1 points per game and 1.8 assists per game. The veteran two-guard is aging and the Cavaliers have no further use for him as Ramon Sessions has been proving himself off the bench. Cleveland could do with trading away Parker before the Thursday deadline, but not many teams are interested in a banged-up veteran.
These are problems that have pestered the Cavaliers all season but were clearly evident in Tuesday’s game. Sessions and Irving could create the most dangerous guard combo in the league over the course of the next couple seasons, but having Parker on the team is holding back all that Sessions has to offer. And even though coach Scott likes Gee’s explosiveness off the bench, he has fought for the starting job all season and has proved he deserves it. If Gee keeps on having 15-point, 5-rebound and 3-steal games, he could have this job for a long time.
The Cavaliers will travel to the Bradley Center to take on the Milwaukee Bucks, the eighth seed in the Easter Conference, Wednesday night at 8 p.m.