Raptors’ winning streak ends at 5 as Cavaliers steal victory with seconds left
For almost seconds, the Toronto Raptors looked set to take their unlikely early-season winning streak to six games on Friday.
But Darius Garland’s two free throws with 4.8 seconds left carried the Cavaliers to their first lead of the night – and a 102-101 win that ended the Raptors’ five-game winning streak.
“This one was weird to lose,” said coach Nick Nurse. “I think we played really hard and played pretty well. I just think it was weird.”
Scottie Barnes, back after missing two games with a sprained right thumb, finished with 14. Dalano Banton added 11.
Garland led Cleveland (6-4) with 21 points.
WATCH | The Raptors’ 5-game winning streak came to a halt as the Cavaliers steal the win:
Despite the loss, the Raptors’ performance at the start of the rebuilding season defied many expectations. The nurse praised her team’s work ethic on Friday.
“We don’t get carried away [with the wins], what we’re really looking for is to play as hard as possible, “said Nurse.” I thought we did that tonight, and we’re trying to play together and keep understanding each other and keep on work in rotations and give a super hard effort.
“If we do that, I think we’ve proven that we can probably have victories here and there. The real goal is to keep getting better and better as we go.”
Returning to Scotiabank Arena after a perfect 3-0 run and on their longest winning streak in nearly two seasons, the Raptors trailed only 4.8 seconds.
Toronto built up a 12-point lead in the first half, extended it to 15 in the third quarter and led 80-74 to start the fourth.
Cleveland rallied down the home stretch, and Jarrett Allen’s three-point shot with 4:42 remaining tied the game 94-94.
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Anunoby knocked down a three with 1:43 to play for five points of leeway, but Allen scored back-to-back baskets to narrow the difference to one point with 42 seconds left.
Anunoby was whistled for tripping Garland, leading to decisive free throws.
“You just have to fight to the end,” Allen said of the Cavs’ heroism late in the game.
Barnes missed a swing attempt on Anunoby’s shot at the final buzzer.
The Raptors were excellent defensively for most of the night, forcing 19 turnovers from Cleveland for 23 points.
The nurse was not thrilled with the refereeing, saying there was a “world record for jumping balls” that night.
“Again, the ball didn’t bounce back to us, didn’t take a lot of breaks,” said the coach. “It seemed like every ball we had made cleanly into a jump ball quickly or somehow. We didn’t do a very good job winning any of those. We didn’t. really helpful. “
Siakam about to return
The Raptors, who are not yet complete, will be reinforced next week with the expected return of Pascal Siakam. The star forward who is recovering from off-season shoulder surgery is set to make his season debut next week.
“We’re going to be really good,” Barnes said on Siakam’s return. “We’re already very good now. But at full strength, the way we play, we will have even more length who can score, who can play in defense. It will be really good.”
Kevin Pangos, a Canadian wellness story of the season, made his first NBA trip to Toronto but did not play.
“Being able to come home and play is a big deal. Being able to come home and play in the NBA is even more important. Cavs coach JB Bickerstaff before the game.
“He’s played professional basketball everywhere, he’s still pretty balanced… but I think going back to basics for all of us, when you get to that level, has some great emotions related to it.”
Anunoby was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first quarter, including back-to-back dunks in a 7-0 run. The Raptors led 29-28 to start second.
Barnes led the way with eight points in the second quarter and Malachi Flynn’s three-point shot gave Toronto the lead late in the half. Toronto was leading 57-48 at halftime.
The Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.