Cavs Fall in Toronto
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers have had some rough third quarters over the past couple weeks, but Sunday’s seemed a little more painful. Not only did they see a 17-point lead evaporate, but they lost Kyrie Irving for the evening when he collided with Toronto’s Jonas Valanciunas on the baseline.
Dion Waiters led the Cavs back from an eight-point deficit late in the fourth, putting them ahead, 95-94, with 1:20 to play. But Kyle Lowry’s two free throws and tough turnaround jumper gave the Raptors enough room to pull away for the 100-96 win at the Air Canada Centre.
Waiters scored 13 of his 21 points in the final six minutes of the ballgame and finished 7-of-17 from the floor. C.J. Miles did his damage early, netting 13 of his 15 points in the second quarter. Irving had 12 points when he left the game with just over two minutes to play in the third.
The Cavaliers All-Star guard was driving baseline when Valanciunas – drafted four spots after him in 2011 – slid over, collided with him and was called for the blocking foul. With his left shoulder in obvious pain, Kyrie shot a pair of free throws with just his right hand. He went directly to the locker room afterward and was diagnosed with a left shoulder contusion. X-rays were negative and he’ll be evaluated in Cleveland on Monday.
Marreese Speights and Tristan Thompson notched 11 points apiece, with Tristan doubling-up for the second straight game with a team-high 10 boards.
Turning Point – Once again, the Cavaliers came out of the halftime locker room a different team. Cleveland led, 50-33, with 3:46 to play in the second quarter and led by nine at intermission. But Toronto outscored the Wine and Gold, 33-19, in the third quarter, took a five-point edge heading into the fourth and didn’t trail again until Dion Waiters’ free throw put them up (briefly) by a point.
Game Ball – Dion Waiters – The tough rookie from South Philly put the Cavaliers on his back in the homestretch on Sunday, scoring 13 of the team’s final 17 points. He added four boards, a pair of assists and committed just a single turnover on the night.
By the Numbers – 13 … points per game C.J. Miles is averaging off the bench since the All-Star Break, notching double-figures in all but one contest. Miles is shooting .494 from the floor, .444 from beyond the arc and an even 80 percent from the stripe in that span.
Quotable – Tristan Thompson, on the Cavaliers struggles in the third quarter …
”It’s simple, we have to come out and play like men in the third quarter. The last five games teams have been kicking our butts, kicking our tail, outscoring us by double digits. It starts on the defensive end, we got to be men and get stops and play together. It is not soul searching, it’s basketball, It’s a man’s game, either you or going to do it every night or not going to do it.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers come home for a Tuesday night affair against the Wizards before heading to the Lone Star State for a back-to-back against the Mavericks on Friday night and the Spurs on Saturday. It’s one of just two multiple-game road trips the Cavs have remaining on their schedule.