The Toronto Raptors survived a massive fightback from the Cavaliers to level the NBA Eastern conference finals at 2-2.
Kyle Lowry had 35 points and DeMar DeRozan added 32 as the Raptors outplayed the Cavaliers down the stretch after coughing up an 18-point lead.LeBron James had 29 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead the Cavaliers, and Kyrie Irving added 26. Channing Frye added 12 big points off the bench in the loss.The Raptors led 13-5 early, but once Frye came in, the Cavaliers went on a 15-7 run to get back into the game. The Raptors continued to play well, though, and took a 27-24 lead after one. Lowry poured it on in the second quarter — he had 15 in the frame and 20 in the first half — as the Raptors lead grew to 18 at one point and went into the half with a 57-41 lead.
The Cavaliers came out with purpose in the second half and started making some threes. They cut the lead to seven early in the third, but the Raptors continued to have an answer, especially with Bismack Biyombo continuing his dominance in the paint. The Cavaliers weren’t done yet, though. Irving was spectacular in the third, and the Cavaliers cut the lead to nine heading into the fourth.That’s when Cleveland took over. With James and Frye leading the charge while Irving and Kevin Love sat on the bench, the Cavaliers made their first 11 shots of the fourth quarter running a pick-and-roll at the top of the key. They took their first lead at 84-83 with 8:20 left, but the Raptors did trade buckets with the Cavaliers to stay in the game.
After falling behind 96-94, the Raptors went on a 5-0 run to take a three-point lead with 3:23 left. The Raptors came up with two stops and made 2-of-4 free throws to take a 101-96 lead, but Irving hit a three from deep to make it a two-point game. DeRozan answered on the next possession to extend the lead back to four. Biyombo blocked J.R. Smith on the next possession, then grabbed a huge offensive rebound after a Lowry miss to set up a Lowry bucket with 22.5 seconds left that gave the Raptors a six-point lead that clinched it.
Game 5 is on Wednesday in Cleveland.