The Toronto Raptors got a statement win over Cleveland on Friday night, beating the Cavs, 99-97, at the Air Canada Centre. The Raptors trailed 31-21 after the first quarter and 77-68 after the third before rallying in the fourth. They won on a long deuce by Kyle Lowry in the final seconds.
“We did a very good job,” Raptors center Bismack Biyombo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Everybody sticked together. We were down 14 and the coach kept pushing the players and we kept pushing each other. I’m glad we got the win tonight. This is a great process for us – to continue to get better every night, to continue to enjoy the process. This game is fun. At the end of the day, the win (is all that) matters.”
Lowry was unstoppable for Toronto. He shot 15-of-20 from the floor, 11-of-15 from the foul line and hit the game-winning jumper to finish with 43 points. He also had nine assists and four steals, helping the Raptors overcome a six-point, 1-of-11 night from DeMar DeRozan.
“Kyle Lowry was hot from the beginning,” said Biyombo, who had 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. “You could tell. Kyle has been playing at a high level. I’ve competed against him when I was (in Charlotte), but being able to actually see him compete on both ends of the floor defensively and offensively, that’s impressive for a guard. At the end of the day, to put up the numbers that he put up, it’s unbelievable. Tonight of course we all had to give some extra effort. This is about the team playing for each other. I think we did a very good job tonight. We just got to continue to get better. I know we have gotten a lot better, but challenge is going to come and challenges are ahead of us. We got to be ready for it.”
LeBron James finished with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Cleveland but air-balled a potential game-winning three as time expired. The Raptors (39-18) have now won 10 straight home games – their longest streak since 2002 – and are within two games of Cleveland (41-16) for the top spot in the East.
“I think tonight was a good test for us,” Biyombo said. “Cleveland is going to be one of the teams we’re going to have to face (in the playoffs). A lot of guys competed. As long as you get on the floor and give 100 percent, good things happen. I think we did that night. You got to know how to guard LeBron. You got to know how to guard Kyrie. You got to know how to guard Kevin Love. We all did a good job playing better defense in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. That helped us pull out the win. Obviously Kyle’s buzzer-beater was fantastic. Overall, I think it was a great night for us. We’re building something exciting here.”