Cavaliers make late-game run to beat Raptors 84-80
Published Friday, April 6, 2012 10:21PM EDT
Toronto Raptors' DeMar DeRozan (right) wrestles for the ball with Cleveland Cavaliers' Alonzo Gee during first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Friday April 6 , 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Antawn Jamison scored 15 of his team-high 25 points in a 5:35 span of the fourth quarter as the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back to defeat the Toronto Raptors 84-80 Friday night.
Jamison put the Cavaliers (18-35) on his back in the early moments of the fourth, single-handedly erasing a 12-point deficit on the strength of three three-pointers. Cleveland held on from there to end a nine-game losing skid and salvage a win in the finale of its four-game season series with Toronto.
Lester Hudson set career highs with 23 points and seven assists in a reserve role for the Cavaliers, who overcame a 3-for-19 shooting performance in the third quarter.
DeMar DeRozan led the way with 28 points for the Raptors (20-36), who suffered yet another fourth-quarter implosion to see their three-game winning streak come to an end. Andrea Bargnani added 19 points but made just two of his final 16 shots after opening the game 6-for-6.
After Toronto limited Cleveland to just 11 third-quarter points for a 63-51 advantage, back-to-back threes from Jamison sliced the deficit to five with 9:10 remaining. He connected on another long-range shot just over two minutes later to tie the score at 66.
Hudson knocked down an acrobatic layup with 4:09 left to put Cleveland in front by three, and Samardo Samuels' long jumper on the next possession capped a 23-5 run that sapped the energy from the Air Canada Centre crowd of 16,565.
Two DeRozan free throws cut the deficit to three, but an Alonzo Gee driving layup made it 76-71 and Cleveland used free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Toronto was without point guards Jose Calderon (swollen right eye) and Jerryd Bayless (torn left oblique) and forward Gary Forbes (sore left knee), while forward James Johnson missed his second straight game as he reportedly sits in coach Dwane Casey's doghouse.
Alan Anderson and Ben Uzoh were inserted into the starting lineup after signing their second 10-day contracts prior to the game, while fellow D-Leaguer Justin Dentmon made his Raptors debut in a reserve role. Uzoh had nine points and six rebounds, Dentmon scored three points and Anderson missed all four of his shot attempts.
Cleveland had its share of injury absences as well, with Kyrie Irving (sprained right shoulder), Anthony Parker (bruised sternum) and Anderson Varejao (broken wrist) all on the sidelines. The Cavaliers also had to deal with the loss of head coach Byron Scott, who was given a double technical and subsequently ejected with 53.1 seconds remaining in the first half for arguing with officials.
Cleveland forward and Brampton, Ont., native Tristan Thompson finished with six points and four rebounds in 24 minutes.