Raptors snap Cavaliers’ win streak to get back in playoff hunt
DeRozan scores 32 in 99-84 win
DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and Bismack Biyombo grabbed 26 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors ripped the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-84 in the NBA playoffs.
Cleveland’s 10-game playoff win streak was snapped but the Cavaliers still lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals 2-1 with game four Monday at Toronto.
The series survivor will face either defending champion Golden State or Oklahoma City in next month’s NBA Finals.
A Toronto team that was humbled twice at Cleveland to start the series sent a message that they were not going to be swept out like the Cavs’ prior foes.
“It was aggression. It was a must win for us. We needed it,” DeRozan said. “When we play like this, good things happen.”
The Cavaliers, whose playoff start fell one shy of the NBA record 11-0 set by the Los Angeles Lakers, made only 28-of-79 from the floor, a woeful 35.4 percent, and hit only 14-of-41 3-point attempts while being outrebounded 54-40.
Much of that was thanks to the inside domination of Democratic Republic of Congo center Biyombo, who set a club playoff record for rebounds in a game and added seven points and four blocked shots.
“Bismack did a great job grabbing rebounds and keeping them off the boards,” DeRozan said. “He was a monster. He kept us going. He gave us a chance to get out in transition.”
Biyombo dominated inside for the Raptors and scored six consecutive points after Cleveland pulled within 85-77 in the fourth quarter to doom any comeback ideas.
Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and Cory Joseph came off the bench to contribute 14 as well as tough defense on Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving.
Irving was a horrid 3-of-19 from the floor and scored only 13 points while forward Kevin Love made only 1-of-9 from the floor and scored only three points.
Irving and Love were crucial in carrying the scoring load in Cleveland’s two victories but were contained by the Raptors’ defenders.
LeBron James led Cleveland with 24 points while J.R. Smith added 22.
Irving went to locker room seconds before the game ended holding his chest while Biyombo went down to the court at the final buzzer after appearing to be hit in the groin.
Toronto led 27-24 after the first quarter and a 22-7 Raptors run late in the second quarter produced a 60-42 edge before the Cavaliers trimmed their half-time deficit to 60-47.
DeRozan scored nine of his 21 first-half points in the crucial spurt in Toronto’s first home Eastern Conference finals game.
The Cavaliers pulled within 70-65 late in the third period, but the Raptors extended their margin to 80-70 entering the fourth quarter on a 3-point buzzer beater by Joseph.