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Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers and Raptors went back-and-forth throughout the fourth quarter – with five ties and seven lead-changes in the period – but the final three minutes belonged to Toronto, which used a 12-4 closing run to send the Wine and Gold to their third straight defeat, 99-93, on Tuesday at The Q.
Kyrie Irving led five Cavaliers in double-figures with 25 points on an even 10-for-22 from the floor. Spencer Hawes, in just his third game as a Cavalier, got the start and chipped in with 15 points, seven boards and Cleveland’s lone blocked shot. Tristan Thompson fell just short of his fifth double-double in six games – adding 13 points and nine boards despite not seeing a minute of action in the fourth quarter. Jarrett Jack finished with 12 points, four assists, three steals and a pair of boards. Matthew Delladova led the reserves with 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting – adding three boards and a pair of helpers.
The Cavaliers were again with the services of Anderson Varejao (sore back), Dion Waiters (left knee hyperextension) and CJ Miles (left ankle sprain) – all of whose energy was, and has been missed over Cleveland’s recent three-game skein.
Toronto’s All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan led everyone with 33 points in the win, as the Raptors held Cleveland to 17 points in the first quarter and scored 31 in the fourth to top the Wine and Gold for the second time in five days.
Turning Point – Tuesday’s turning point didn’t arrive until the final two minutes of the fourth quarter – although a 14-0 Cavaliers run that spanned the first and second halves originally got the Cavaliers back into the game. In the final 2:10, however, the Wine and Gold had an opportunity to take the win – drawing to within a point on Tyler Zeller’s made free throws. But a questionable charging call on Kyrie Irving and what appeared to be a foul against Zeller derailed Cleveland’s comeback attempt. DeRozan and Kyle Lowry hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the deal.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Cavaliers All-Star guard was on his game on Tuesday, scoring 15 of his team-high 25 after intermission. Irving was perfect from the stripe and added nine assists, four boards and a pair of steals while committing just two miscues in 45 minutes of action.
By the Numbers – 15 … games out of the last 20 at The Q that Kyrie Irving has scored at least 20 points – averaging 23.6 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 boards and 1.4 steals per contest during that stretch. In that 20-game run, Kyrie is shooting .423 from the floor and .920 from the stripe.
Quotable – Head Coach Mike Brown, on Toronto’s bigs in Tuesday’s loss …
”It looked good in stretches but one thing that concerned me no matter what combination of bigs we have in there is it seems like Toronto did a nice job on the offensive glass. That’s something against bigger teams we gotta make sure we do a better job of.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers play their next four against Western Conference foes. They face a tall order on Wednesday night – traveling to OKC to take on Kevin Durant, Michael Westbrook and the Thunder. They return home for a Friday for a meeting with the Utah Jazz at The Q, before heading to Memphis to face the Grizzlies on Saturday night. After a couple of days off, the San Antonio Spurs roll into town next Tuesday night.