Cleveland came all the way back from a 15-point deficit at halftime with six minutes left in the game when James had an easy drive to the hole to produce a dunk, a basket that tied it up, 112-112, forcing the Raptors to call a timeout.
Trailing 76-68 after three quarters, the Raptors found another gear defensively in the final period. “It’s a brotherhood and it’s exciting to be a part of it”.
The Raptors pounded the Cavaliers, 133-99, in their last meeting, but Cleveland has a totally different roster than in their last meeting. Coach Dwane Casey said the team’s confidence has never been higher and has given Toronto an aura it didn’t have before. “Mentally, you have to be sharp in these games and we weren’t for three quarters, but we found a way in the fourth”.
“I thought it was a great game, a great battle”.
Anthony Davis scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead New Orleans over visiting IN 96-92 while Paul Millsap scored 22 points to lead Denver over host Chicago 135-102. Aaron Gordon, returning after missing five games with a concussion, added 16 points.
The 76ers’ fourth win in a row also featured 14 points from Joel Embiid plus 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds by Australian playmaker Ben Simmons. Their offence laboured to start the frame, but the bricks they were throwing at the rim didn’t affect them on the other end of the court as they forced the Magic to miss their first 11 shot attempts to start the fourth.
“It’s about decision-making and execution”, Magic coach Frank Vogel said. “If you don’t turn the ball over, it doesn’t allow teams to get in transition versus our set defense”. “You can’t overlook them or under-look them no matter what type of changes they made”. He is enjoying the best season of his career, and the Raptors are poised to make a legitimate championship run largely because of his play.
Serge Ibaka, Norman Powell and Delon Wright scored in double-digits for Toronto, which registered less than 95 points for just the seventh time this season.
Toronto had to overcome long stretches of missed shots, turnovers and poor offensive execution of its own. Paul Millsap had 22 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes, and Wilson Chandler made five of the Nuggets’ 20 three-pointers on his way to 19 points. In order to bring the West Coast to Canada in June, the tandem of Lowry and DeRozan need continue their epic play and the Raptors will need all the help it can get from its leaders on the bench.
The same, of course, can be said for LeBron James, who remains the best player in the world.
Toronto Raptors all-star DeMar DeRozan is back following his one-game absence. Lowry had seven 3-pointers, giving his 204 for the season. Well, DeRozan was recently named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after he averaged 35.7 points in a three game span, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
McGrady was enshrined Tuesday into the Orlando Magic Hall of Fame, a tip of the hat to what the Central Florida native accomplished during his 295-game tenure with the team. He had already missed 11 games in December with the sprained right ankle, which he injured again March 2 at Atlanta but played with it. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 36.8 percent from beyond the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line.
After Cleveland and Toronto finished the 2016-2017 season with the exact same 51-31 record, the Cavaliers swept the Raptors in the second round.