Raptors continue to rock

The Toronto Raptors' Fred Jones drives to the hoop during first-half action last night against the...

The Toronto Raptors' Fred Jones drives to the hoop during first-half action last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the ACC. (Toronto Sun/Stan Behal)

MARK KEAST -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

Before last night's game, Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell spoke about the opportunity injuries to key starters presented some of the players in the lineup, those players who don't normally see big minutes.

After last night's 91-90 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers was in the books, he was talking about the same thing, after bench players like Kris Humphries and Uros Slokar checked in with solid contributions.

"Some guys didn't have a good night," Mitchell said. "So other guys stepped in and did the job. That's why you always need 12 guys ready to play."

The Raptors, because of injuries to T.J. Ford (stiff back, connected to a sore left hamstring), rookie Andrea Bargnani (sore left ankle) and Chris Bosh (sore left heel), threw out a starting lineup comprised of Anthony Parker and Humphries at forward, Rasho Nesterovic at centre, Morris Peterson and Jose Calderon at guard. The Cavaliers, fresh off a 90-88 loss to Atlanta in overtime Saturday night, started the lineup you'll most likely see when things get going for real -- franchise player Lebron James and Drew Gooden at forward, 7-footer Zydrunas Ilgauskas at the centre spot, Larry Hughes at guard and Eric Snow at point guard.

For rookie Slokar, last night was an education.

"I bring the in-between game," Slokar said. "I try to get a few rebounds, do something on defence, the things you don't see in the boxscore. Not a lot of people see it, but it's crucial for a team."

A game in which a banged-up Raptors team was trying to match up against a Cavs team that had 50 wins last season with most of it starters getting serious minutes didn't appear like it would be much of a game at all, at least on paper.

And that's the way things panned out early on.

In fact, it was soon apparent why the Cavaliers missed the perimeter shooting of Hughes so much last year (Hughes missed 46 games with a wrist injury and never fully came around), and a more buffed, confident Donyell Marshall.

Hughes finished up the day with 14 points, while Marshall went 7-for-12 from the field, 17 points in total.

James finished with 21 points in 30:45 of play, after playing nearly 43 minutes the night before in Atlanta.

An offensive rebound by Humphries on a Calderon missed shot with four seconds to go sealed the win.

Humphries also had 16 points. In 62 games last year with the Utah Jazz, he averaged three points per game.

Said Humphries: "Chris is down, so guys have to step up. We'll get wins if the second unit comes in, picks up the pace and changes the game."


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