Raptors end the misery

Chris Bosh yells after coming down with the ball during the Toronto Raptors win over the Cleveland...

Chris Bosh yells after coming down with the ball during the Toronto Raptors win over the Cleveland Cavaliers at the ACC on Wednesday. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

MARK KEAST -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

It was a battle of the Eastern Conference's best and worst last night at the Air Canada Centre, but you wouldn't have known which team was which by the jump displayed by the home side.

In the end, the Raptors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-87.

Another all-star-calibre effort by Chris Bosh and a breakout effort by a player striving for an opportunity to show some consistency, Joey Graham, were the signature points in a game the team needed to win. In fact, from the Raptors' perspective, if there was a must-win game this early in the season, last night was probably it.

"We remembered how to win games again," Bosh said. "We made the right plays down the stretch, had the right people making shots."

Bosh's leadership went beyond stats (25 points, 14 rebounds). It was going to the basket drawing fouls (the more important statistic from the team's perspective, 10-for-14 from the foul line), not settling for the three-point shot he worked on during training camp, verbally pushing his teammates, and the officials, getting up right away after falling hard on his tailbone late in the game, that was more telling, another chapter in his maturation process.

Guards Fred Jones and Graham, seeing more court time (close to 28 minutes) after it was announced that Morris Peterson was out with an elbow injury, also threw in yeomen efforts, 14 and 16 points, respectively.

Graham tossed in eight rebounds. That stat, in particular, impressed coach Sam Mitchell, who needed a win in a big way personally, perhaps quieting those calling for his head after the team went 0-5 on its recent West Coast trip.

Graham also met the challenge of guarding LeBron James, who still finished with 30 points.

"He made LeBron take some tough shots," Mitchell said.

Graham said he has never grown frustrated as the team grew frustrated with him, and his playing time dropped, adding his relationship with Mitchell is tight.

"Yeah, me and Sam have this relationship where it's open," he said. "We can talk about anything. It keeps you humble."

The Raptors head on the road again after practice today, with a game in Atlanta against the Hawks tomorrow night.


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