Notebook: Raptors 100, Cavaliers 96

Posted Mar 10, 2013 11:20 PM

Josh Lewenberg, for

THE FACTS: Missing two starters, the undermanned Toronto Raptors (25-39) rallied back from an early 17-point deficit at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers (21-42), who lost their best player in the 100-96 defeat.

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving exited after sustaining a left shoulder injury, colliding with a Toronto player late in the third quarter, a loss that the Raptors took advantage of playing without Rudy Gay -- who sat out resting a sore back -- and Andrea Bargnani, sidelined with an elbow strain.

It came down to the wire, with Cleveland leading by one in the final minute of a back-and-forth conclusion to the fourth quarter, but Kyle Lowry scored four straight including the go-ahead turnaround jumper with 14 seconds left.

Even without two of their top scorers, six Raptors reached double figures led by Alan Anderson, who had 15 of his 18 points in the second half. Amir Johnson registered a double-double of 17 points and 16 rebounds, Lowry scored 15 to go along with nine boards while rookie Terrence Ross added 14 in his first NBA start.

Irving had 12 points before sustaining his injury with rookie Dion Waiters picking up the slack with a game-high 21.

QUOTABLE: "I know where we're at, I know where we're going [and] I know how to get there but again it takes these guys committed like they were [in] the second half."

-- Raptors coach Dwane Casey

THE STAT: After Toronto took a quick 9-6 lead, the Cavaliers seized control with a 29-13 run extending into the second quarter. Cleveland out-muscled the home team early on, outrebounding them by five in the first quarter with a six-point advantage in the paint. The Raptors more than held their own the rest of the way, finishing with 47 boards (two more than Cleveland) and their own six-point advantage in the painted area. Toronto has now scored 40 or more points in the paint in five consecutive games despite entering the game ranked 27th in that category.

TURNING POINT: Trailing by nine with eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Raptors engineered a 27-13 run to end the frame leading by five points. Overall, Toronto shot 50 percent and outscored Cleveland 33-19 led by rookies Ross and Jonas Valanciunas, who combined for 19 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the frame. Following a collision with Valanciunas, Irving left the game with two minutes left in the period while his team was still up by four. He headed straight to the Cavaliers locker room after shooting and splitting two one-handed free throws. Cleveland was never able to recover after losing its All-Star point guard.

HOT: Ross, who did not play in Friday's road loss to the Lakers, was given his first career start in place of the injured Gay. Although Ross struggled early on, settling for long jumpers and going 1-for-6 in the first half, he had much better results once he started to utilize his athleticism and put the ball on the floor later in the game. The rookie scored 10 points in nine second-half minutes, shooting 3-for-5 including 2-for-3 from downtown. It was his second straight outing with 10 or more points.

QUOTABLE II: "Terrence came out great. It's good, especially for a rookie of that caliber to get his confidence up at the end of the season."

-- Raptors forward Landry Fields on Ross

NOT: Coming off an efficient 12-for-18, 28-point performance in Los Angeles, DeMar DeRozan had a quiet outing on Sunday. The Raptors' guard struggled with his shot, going 3-for-13 from the floor while also committing four turnovers. He did redeem himself at the line where he went 7-for-8 and continued to demonstrate his improved court vision registering six assists. It was the 11th time DeRozan recorded five or more assists in a game this season after accomplishing that feat just five times total in his first three seasons.

GOOD MOVE: Leading by three with less than five seconds remaining, Casey and the Raptors opted to foul Cleveland, forcing them to shoot two free throws instead of attempting a three-point shot that would have tied the game. Casey had been criticized after his team failed to execute in the exact same situation at the end of regulation in Friday's overtime loss to the Lakers.

QUOTABLE III: "[We] finally got it right. We work on it, we talk about, we drill it. They're human beings, we're [all] human beings, everyone's [a] human being. You'd love to have a perfect situation but again, it's a process"

-- Casey on fouling the Cavaliers, up three on the final possession

NOTABLE: Irving is considered day-to-day with a left shoulder contusion, X-rays were negative. ... Bargnani missed the game after straining his right elbow in the first quarter of Friday's loss. Bargnani, who missed 26 games earlier this season with a torn ligament in the same elbow, is scheduled to undergo further tests on Monday. ... Prior to the game Casey indicated there's a possibility the team could continue to rest Gay, who has been battling back spasms, if the ailment persists down the stretch of the season. ... Johnson registered his team-leading 12th double-double. ... With the win, the Raptors split the season series with Cleveland after the Cavaliers took the last two meetings. ... The Cavaliers have lost four of their first five games in the month of March despite winning four of five to end February. ... Both rapper Drake, a Toronto native, and Heisman winner Johnny Manziel were in attendance.

UP NEXT: For the Cavaliers, Tuesday vs. Washington, Friday @ Dallas, Saturday @ San Antonio. For the Raptors, Wednesday @ Boston, Friday vs. Charlotte, Mar. 17 vs. Miami.