ECF Game 6: Raptors 87, Cavs 113
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Dwane Casey pulled his starters with 2:38 remaining and the Cavaliers ahead by 24 points. Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Patterson and Terrence Ross walked off the floor to a thundering ovation as the Air Canada Centre crowd showed its appreciation for the greatest season in franchise history. Cleveland went on to a 113-87 victory to win the series 4-2.
ROLLERCOASTER FIRST HALF
A lot of things happened in the first half, with Bismack Biyombo picking up a flagrant foul, technicals being called on Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson and Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson, LeBron James scoring 21 points, and Cleveland turning a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter into a 14-point advantage at the break. Despite the Cavaliers making just two more field goals than Toronto, they held a 10-2 edge on made 3-pointers as the Raptors struggled from downtown in the first half of the game.
LOWRY DOMINATES THE THIRD
Kyle Lowry did his best to will the Raptors back in the third quarter, as Toronto followed up 16-point second quarter effort with a 33-point third. Lowry scored 18 points in the period on 5-for-6 shooting, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, and 4-for-4 form the free throw line, but the Raptors couldn’t slow the Cavs down, and only managed to trim two points off the halftime lead to go into the fourth training by 12.
FIGHTING TILL THE END
Things didn’t get any easier in the final quarter for Toronto, with Cleveland starting to see the finish line. The Cavaliers outscored the Raptors 27-13 in the final quarter, but the Raptors continued to battle until the final buzzer sounded, prompting fans to stand on their feet and chant “Let’s go Raptors” for the last three minutes of the game. The crowd was so loud after the buzzer sounded that LeBron James stopped his on-court post-game interview to acknowledge them, calling the atmosphere unbelievable.
FROM 82 TO 102
After winning a franchise-best 56 games, the Raptors appeared in 20 postseason games, making it 102 games played this season (not including preseason). With most of the roster experiencing the Conference Finals for the first time, it was an incredible season of learning that will surely help the team continue it’s climb.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Kyle Lowry finished the season as he started it, doing everything in his power to propel his team to victory. Lowry finished with a game-high 35 points on 11-for-22 field goals in 42 minutes. He shot 6-for-12 from beyond the arc, 7-for-7 from the free throw line, and added three rebounds and three assists. With Cleveland in control late, Lowry pushed and pushed and pushed, leaving everything on the floor until he was taken out of the game.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan was right behind Lowry, finishing with 20 points on 9-for-18 field goals. He was 2-for-2 from the free throw line and also added three rebounds and three assists in 42 minutes as he and his backcourt mate did all they could to try to continue the magical postseason run that was possible largely because of their play during the regular season.
THAT'S A RAP…
“Tip our hats to those guys. They did what we want to do, and they’ve been to where we want to get to. They played unbelievable so far this playoffs. Give them all the credit; they beat us fair and square, and their guys played well. They’re a talented group and they’ve got a chance to win an NBA championship. That’s where we want to be.”
- Kyle Lowry on the Cavaliers
BY THE #’S
38…Rebounds for the Cavaliers, 33 for the Raptors.
22…Assists for Cleveland compared to just 10 for Toronto.
17…Fast break points for the Cavs, five for the Raptors.
55…Percent shooting from beyond the arc for Cleveland, who connected on 17-of-31 threes. Toronto shot 8-for-25 from deep, with Lowry’s 6-for-12 effort leading the way.
THEY SAID IT…
“We’re learning. We’re not where they are right now. We’re going to be. This summer is a big summer of working for our players in specific areas. That’s going to help, but this experience, this year was a great learning experience for us.”
- Dwane Casey on this season being an invaluable learning experience
“It’s hard work, man. You put everything, you sacrifice so much for moments like this. When they get taken away from you, it’s hurtful. You worked so hard to climb your way up, to get knocked back down. You understand you’ve got to start over again from ground one. But it’s a challenge we all accept, and we’re looking forward to it. But as of right now, it sucks.”
- DeMar DeRozan on putting this season into perspective given how far the team has come over the past four seasons
“I’m so proud of our guys. To go through what they’ve been through, two game 7 series and a game 6 series and a day off in between, they fought through it. No excuses, but I did think mental fatigue did set in a little bit which is not an excuse at this time of the year. But we put ourselves in the position of two hard-fought seven-game series, which I know we learned from. When we talk to guys next year about what it’s like, about a situation, they can refer back to how hard it was in the Indiana series, in the Miami series, in this series, about the situation they put themselves in, and the type of focus and attention to detail you’ve got to have in certain situations. It’s not about playing hard, it’s about attention to detail and making sure you understand exactly what your job is in that instance."
- Dwane Casey on the 20-game postseason his team experienced through individual player struggles and injury
“It was special for me, obviously being from Toronto. Like I've been saying throughout the playoffs, being from Toronto, it’s been very special to me. I try, every time I suit up, no matter the outcome, no matter how I play, I try to leave it all out there. I felt like I owed that to my city, being from here, having so much friends and family, the fans have been great for us throughout the whole way. I know the rollercoasters they’ve been in in the past. I’ve been through some of the same ones as a kid. Just trying to leave it all out there whenever I got a chance. It felt like we did that. We came up short of our goal, but we left it all out there and we have to continue to get better.”
- Cory Joseph on being part of the franchise’s most successful season
“It’s an unbelievable atmosphere. These fans, they mean a lot to their team, and I think the team gave everything they could throughout the whole season. To go to a place they’ve never been before, to get to the Eastern Conference Finals, and to win two games on their home floor as well, in front of their fans throughout this Conference Finals, it just showed their appreciation. They were unbelievable all season long to this point, and they definitely showed that toward the end of the game, all the way throughout.”
- LeBron James on the atmosphere of the ACC crowd and the relationship between the Raptors and their fanbase
The Raptors will hold year-end media availability on Saturday morning before they officially begin the offseason.