Toronto Raptors tell Cleveland Cavs, ‘No, No, No!’
Compton’s own DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and company tie NBA Eastern Conference finals at 2-2, as Toronto Raptors rake Cleveland Cavs COMPTON — The Toronto Raptors have turned what appeared to be shaping up as a
Compton’s own DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and company tie NBA Eastern Conference finals at 2-2, as Toronto Raptors rake Cleveland Cavs
COMPTON — The Toronto Raptors have turned what appeared to be shaping up as a yawner after the first two games in the NBA Eastern Conference, into a spectacular court show with two dominant back-to-back wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors are suddenly looking like giant killers with a resurgence by guards Kyle Lowry and Demar DeRozan playing like All-stars, and Bismack Biyombo, in for injured center Jonas Valanciunas, performing like a man possessed on both ends of the court swatting shots and gourging rebounds.
Monday night the Raptors resumed their furious play of Game 3, taking the fight to the Cavs early and holding off a strong surge late in the fourth quarter to earn a 105-99 win in Game 4 to tie the series two games apiece. Toronto stumbled in the first two games of the series in blowouts at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland — which portended a four-game sweep.
But Mijombo and crew said, “No, No, No,” to the Heat’s advances, swooped on them like pterodactyl raptors, and left them reeling at home court, turning the series into a best-of-three contest that will resume in Cleveland for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Lowry poured in 35 points in the Raptors Game 4 win over the Cavaliers, and DeRozan chilled the Heat with 32 points, all from mid-range with the exception of one 3-pointer
After facing widespread criticism following an 8-for-28 start to the series, Lowry followed up a strong Game 3 with a masterful performance in Game 4. The All-Star point guard scorched the first line of Cleveland’s defense early, dropping 35 points on 14-for-20 shooting with five rebounds, five assists, and three steals in 44 minutes.
“I’m a confident player,” said Lowry, in a post-game interview with ESPN. “I go out there and do my job. My teammates believe in me. My family, my friends believe in me. I just go out there and play basketball. At the end of the day, I can live with the critics and everything. I can live with it. I’m gonna keep working. I know how hard I work on my game, so that’s all that really matters.”
Lowry led the offensive output in the second quarter, finding his shooting touch with 3-pointers off both the bounce and the catch, pouring in 15 of Toronto’s 30 second-quarter points to help stake the Raps to a 57-41 lead at halftime.
Then, there was DeRozan, who spent much of Game 4 defended by James, kicking in 12 fourth-quarter points on floaters, turnarounds and pull-ups, and getting himself to the line to keep the Cavaliers at bay. The former Compton High School star finished with 32 points for the second straight game, with 22 of them coming on 9-for-12 shooting after halftime.
For Cleveland’s part, the team launched long-range bomb after long-range bomb to get back on top—which they accomplished, momentarily— but the Raptors got big offensive rebounds by Patrick Patterson and Biyombo, big second-chance buckets by DeRozan and Lowry, a Biyombo block of a 3-point try by J.R. Smith , to ice the win.
Lowry and DeRozan combined for 67 points, their most as teammates—regular season or playoffs, and are the first teammates with 30 pts and 60 percent shooting in an NBA conference finals since Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle accomplished the feat for the Phoenix Suns in 1993.