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Delfino, Bargnani shoot Raptors past James-less Cavaliers

Dec 1, 2007 - 4:06 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Career nights by Carlos Delfino and Andrea Bargnani helped the Toronto Raptors make up for the loss of Chris Bosh.

Delfino scored 13 of his career-high 24 points in the second quarter and Bargnani fired in a personal-best 26 as the Raptors posted a 91-82 victory on Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without superstar LeBron James.

Jose Calderon again started at the point and had 11 points and 10 assists for Toronto, which got a boost with the return of starting point guard T.J. Ford, who had missed the previous four games with a thumb injury.

"Carlos Delfino had another good game for us. He scored points for us, (got) rebounds and played good defense," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "Andrea Bargnani played good. It was a good win for us."

James, averaging a league-high 31.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 8.5 assists, sat out the game with a sprained left index finger suffered in Wednesday's loss to the Detroit Pistons.

"To be playing without him (LeBron) this early in the season was tough," Cleveland forward Drew Gooden said. "He handles the ball about 95 percent of the time and makes plays for us."

James was joined on the sidelines by Bosh, who sat due to a groin injury also suffered Wednesday in a win over Memphis.

"To be without Chris, I thought we played a good game," Bargnani said. "We all knew that we had to take extra shots. Carlos took good shots and is playing with a lot of confidence. It was also nice to have T.J. back."

Neither team missed their stars in the first quarter, combining to shoot 54 percent (23-of-42) as Cleveland took a 28-27 edge to start the second period. Delfino took charge in the second quarter, connecting on 5-of-6 field goals, including three from the arc.

His 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:40 left in the period provided Toronto a 51-41 lead, but Cleveland closed hard and got a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Damon Jones to close within 54-49. Gooden kept Cleveland close with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals in the first 24 minutes.

Bargnani scored seven points in the third quarter as Toronto stretched its edge to 76-65, and Delfino knocked down a 3-pointer, follow shot and jumper in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth to provide an 85-65 lead.

Delfino finished 9-of-14, including 4-of-7 from the arc. The sharpshooter also added eight rebounds.

"Delfino did a terrific job for those guys off the bench", Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "He kept them going in that first half when the ball game was close."

Bargnani was 9-of-19 from the floor, split four shots from the arc, and chipped in six rebounds and three assists.

Ford collected six assists in 14 minutes for the Raptors, who posted their first three-game home winning streak of the season.

"It's nice to get three wins in a row at home and start to protect our home court," Bargnani said.

Daniel Gibson led Cleveland with 24 points, including four 3-pointers.

"I thought Daniel did a solid job of trying to attack and be aggressive," Brown said. "He's got to continue to try and do that, and I think over time he'll get better."

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