Raptors 101 Cavaliers 91
TORONTO — Jay Triano pulled Chris Bosh to the side as the two walked off the court Wednesday and told him not to revel in the Raptors’ victory too much.
According to Triano, there will be plenty more wins to celebrate this season.
“I told him,‘This is what’s expected, there is no time to celebrate, this is what’s expected now. Let’s build,”’ the Raptors coach said.
Andrea Bargnani scored 28 points as the new-look Raptors opened the regular season with a 101-91 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Bosh added 21 points and 16 rebounds, while Hedo Turkoglu finished with 12 points, Marco Belinelli added 10 and Jose Calderon finished with 11 assists to go with five points for Toronto (1-0).
“I want to hear that from everybody,” Bosh said of Triano’s instructions. “Last year we started off 3-and-0 and you see how the end result was. We lose a basketball game, it’s cool, we lose, it’s cool, let’s play the next one. That’s what it’s about.”
LeBron James topped the Cavs (0-2) with 23 points, 12 assists and 11 boards, marking the 25th triple-double of his career. Mo Williams added 16 points, while former Raptor Anthony Parker and off-season acquisition Shaquille O’Neal finished with 12 points apiece.
In a season of new beginnings, Toronto couldn’t have asked for a better start. The Raptors’ 15th NBA season tipped off with team introductions to a stirring live performance from Toronto Philharmonia at centre court, and then the game and the players lived up to the hype.
The game marked the first real test of a team that has nine new faces on its roster this season, rebuilt in the off-season after winning just 33 games last season.
But it was the Cavs who looked discombobulated for much of the night in front of a capacity crowd at the Air Canada Centre.
On a night Raptors fans applauded their team with standing ovations at nearly every timeout, Toronto led by as much as 21 points in the first half against the Cavs, Eastern Conference finalists and winners of all three meetings against the Raptors last season.
“The crowd is a tremendous factor in games, if we’re bringing it and they’re loud, it’s going to be a very tough place to play,” Bosh said.
The Cavs, who had opened their season a night earlier with a 95-89 home loss to the Boston Celtics, drained five three-pointers in the third to tie the game 69-69 with 2:22 left in the quarter. The Raptors responded with a 9-2 run to take a 78-71 lead into the fourth.
“It’s an adjustment period for all of us,” James said.
“We’re bringing in a whole new offensive system with Shaq coming into the lineup and other guys. We’ve got a couple of other players that we didn’t have last year so it’s still an adjustment period for us.”
The Raptors put as much as 15 points on the Cavs in a thrilling fourth quarter, but James cut Toronto’s lead to six with four straight points in the span of a few heated seconds — Bosh was called for a blocking foul on James that had both the Raptors forward and Triano incensed.
The Raptors shot 45 per cent on the night and held the Cavs to just 35 per cent shooting.