Cavaliers 113, Raptors 101

As Chris Bosh laid on the floor dazed with blood streaming from

his nose, the Toronto Raptors felt a different pain.

Their road to the playoffs could be even tougher now.

Flattened by an inadvertent elbow from Cleveland’s Antawn

Jamison, Bosh sustained a broken bone in his face Tuesday night as

the Raptors, battling Chicago for the final postseason spot in the

Eastern Conference, were beaten 113-101 by the Cavaliers, who have

won 11 straight at home.

Bosh was accidentally struck by Jamison as the two jostled for

position in the lane in the opening minutes. Bosh, who had blood

dripping from his nose and mouth area as he was assisted from the

floor, was immediately taken to the Cleveland Clinic for a CT

scan.

Following the game, the Raptors said tests showed the All-Star

forward 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. Instead, he was to

be kept in the hospital overnight for further evaluation.

Bosh’s loss couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Raptors,

who entered the night clinging to the No. 8 playoff spot. Toronto

has a tough week ahead with games against Boston, Atlanta and the

Bulls, who lost to Milwaukee and remain one game behind the

Raptors.

It’s not known when Bosh, who is eligible for free agency this

summer, will rejoin the team or if he’ll be able to play once he

returns.

“We have to keep fighting, regardless if we have him or not,”

said Jarrett Jack, who led the Raptors with 23 points. “It doesn’t

get any easier and you can’t run. Timing is never perfect it seems

in the NBA. It happens and you have to deal with it. It’s part of

the game like anything else. Injuries are part of it.

“As silly as this may sound, with Chris going down, it creates

an opportunity for somebody to step up. You might have been wanting

that playing time all season. It’s in front of you now. You have an

opportunity to do something with it and come through for our team,

because we’re going to need someone to step up if he’s not able to

go.”

Toronto’s loss also clinched a playoff spot for the Miami

Heat.

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

postseason.

The Raptors also lost forward Antoine Wright in the third

quarter with an ankle injury.

Bosh was battling 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. Stunned by the blow and in obvious

pain, Bosh got to his knees as blood splattered on 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.”

When there was finally a whistle, medical personnel from both

teams went onto the floor to attend to Bosh. Holding a towel to his

face, he was helped from the court and taken to Cleveland’s locker

room, where he was examined by Cavs team physician Dr. Richard

Parker.

“He’s a friend of mine and an Olympic teammate,” James said.

“You hate to see that happen to anybody, especially this late in

the season when they’re trying to make a push for the playoffs. He

may have to wear a mask or something.”

Despite losing Bosh, who averages 24.3 points and 11 rebounds,

the Raptors were still within seven points with 7 minutes to go.

James, who sat out the first 4:21 of the fourth, then scored six

straight points as the Cavaliers opened a 104-91 lead.

With 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 will be

difficult with or 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.”

James dismissed Weems’ comment and didn’t want to get involved

in any trash talk.

“I’m not getting into that,” James said, grinning. “They’re

having a great season so far.”

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 center 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.