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Wrap-Up – The red-hot (but shorthanded) Cavaliers were in complete control through the first half of Friday’s contest in Toronto, but the Raptors turned the tables on Cleveland after intermission, outscoring the Wine and Gold, 37-21, in the third quarter and fending off a late run for the 98-91 win, snapping the Cavs win streak at six.
Luol Deng led three Cavalier starters in double-figures with 21 points and 11 boards, going 6-for-15 from the floor. Kyrie Irving followed up with 17 points, but was just 3-of-16 from the floor. Irving was successful on 10 of his 12 free throw attempts and handed out a team-high nine assists. Toronto native Tristan Thompson added 13 points and nine boards. In his first game back in Toronto, rookie Anthony Bennett went 4-of-6 from the floor for nine points and three boards. And in his first game as a Cavalier, newly-acquired big man, Spencer Hawes finished with seven points, 10 boards and three blocked shots.
The Cavaliers were without three key pieces – plus the two players sent to Philadelphia as part of the Hawes trade. Dion Waiters is still nursing a left knee hyperextension suffered on Tuesday night in Philly, CJ Miles is out with a left sprained ankle suffered in the second half of the Orlando game, and Anderson Varejao missed his fifth straight game with a sore back.
Turning Point – Friday’s turning point took place in the Raptors locker room, as a different club came out after halftime at the Air Canada Centre. Toronto scored 39 points in the first half on Friday night and notched 37 in the third period alone – simultaneously holding the Cavaliers to 21 points on 30 percent shooting. The Cavs didn’t do themselves any favors closing out the quarter – missing five of seven free throws in the final two minutes.
Game Ball – Luol Deng – Deng looked to have the freshest legs of any Cavalier for most of the night, leading the squad in scoring and leading both teams in rebounding – notching double-figures for the fourth time in his last five outings. Deng was 2-of-4 from long distance, 7-of-8 from the stripe, added two steals and grabbed five of his 11 boards off the offensive glass.
By the Numbers – 82 … three-pointers made by Spencer Hawes this season, second-most by a seven-footer behind only Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki with 85. The next-closest seven-footer to Hawes and Dirk is Andrea Bargnani with 30.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on his team fighting through the absence of three key players …
”It’s tough, but that’s part of the NBA life. But I give our guys credit because they did fight, missing those guys and trying to incorporate Hawes, our guys did a nice job of helping him on the floor. So, hopefully we’ll go out and play a little better next game.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers come home to face the Wizards at The Q. They topped Washington two weeks ago to get their six game win streak going; on Sunday, they’ll look to start a new one against John Wall and Co. On Tuesday night, it’s a quick shot at revenge as the Raptors make their first visit to Cleveland this season. The following night, the Wine and Gold have their work cut out for them when they travel to Oklahoma City to face Kevin Durant, Michael Westbrook and the Thunder.