Cavaliers 113 Raptors 101
CLEVELAND — Flattened by an inadvertent elbow, Toronto all-star forward Chris Bosh broke a bone in his face Tuesday night as the Raptors’ playoff hopes took a blow with a 113-101 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have won 11 straight at home.
Bosh was accidentally struck by Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison in the first three minutes. Bosh, who had blood dripping from his nose and mouth area as he was assisted from the floor, was taken to the Cleveland Clinic for a CT scan.
Following the game, the Raptors said in a statement that tests showed Bosh suffered a “maxilla and nasal fracture to the right side of his face.” Bosh, who returned to Quicken Loans Arena in the fourth quarter, will not travel with the team from Cleveland. Instead, he was to stay in a hospital overnight for further evaluation.
Jamison scored 20 points — 12 in the third when the Cavs opened a double-digit lead — and Anthony Parker had a season-high 18.
LeBron James scored 19 with 13 assists and Mo Williams had 14 and 12 assists for Cleveland, which has wrapped up the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs and is expected to rest players in the next few games to get ready for the post-season.
Jarrett Jack scored 23 for the Raptors, who also lost forward Antoine Wright in the third quarter with an ankle injury.
Bosh’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Raptors, who entered the night clinging to the No. 8 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Toronto has a tough week ahead with games against Boston, Atlanta and the Chicago Bulls, who remained one game behind the Raptors following a 78-73 loss to Milwaukee.
Bosh was fighting for position in the lane with Jamison when he was nailed by the elbow. Bosh immediately dropped to the floor and stayed there as play continued at the other end. Dazed by the blow, Bosh got to his knees as blood poured onto the court.
“I didn’t think it was that severe,” Jamison said. “But once he went down, you knew it was. I didn’t think I hit him that hard at all. It was just a bad angle and an unfortunate play. Freakish things like that happen.”
With the league’s best record locked up and nothing to play for until the playoffs, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown intends to rest his players in the coming days.
“I look at these games as a high-level practice,” he said. “If we don’t win, it doesn’t really matter.”
The Raptors don’t have that luxury. Every game is crucial, and if Toronto is able to hang on and make the playoffs, which would be tough without Bosh, the Raptors could face the Cavs in the opening round — a matchup that Toronto guard Sonny Weems wouldn’t mind.
“Every game we’ve played them, it’s been real close,” Weems said before the game. “I don’t think they want that in the first round of the playoffs. We’re going to come to play.”
The Cavaliers were without guard Delonte West, rested as a precaution with what the team said were lower back spasms. Anderson Varejao returned after missing three games with a sore hamstring and had 10 points in 28 minutes.
NOTES: Cavs centre Shaquille O’Neal has not yet been cleared for contact, Brown said. O’Neal has been out since Feb. 25 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. … Duke winning the NCAA title was tough on Jamison, a former North Carolina Tar Heel. “It’s a sad day in Chapel Hill,” Jamison said, referring to UNC’s campus. “I don’t think anybody even went outside down there.” … Toronto has lost 11 in a row at Cleveland. The Raptors haven’t won here since April 6, 2004.