Cavs serve notice with win over East-leading Raptors

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LeBron James No.23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives around Louis Williams No.23 of the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO

LeBron James No.23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives around Louis Williams No.23 of the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. AFP PHOTO

CLEVELAND: LeBron James matched a Cleveland record in style on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) as his late three-pointer helped the Cavaliers post a 105-101 victory over NBA Eastern Conference leaders Toronto.

James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player who rejoined Cleveland this season after a four-year sojourn in Miami, joined Mark Price atop the Cavs’ list of all-time three-pointers made.

He drained the long-range go-ahead basket with 48.1 seconds remaining as Cleveland extended their winning streak to eight games.

The contest was tied 99-99 before Kevin Love pump-faked from the left wing beyond the arc, dribbled to the left and passed to James, who made the shot from beyond the arc for his 802nd three-pointer as a Cavalier.


A free-throw gave Cleveland a 103-99 edge before Terrence Ross cut the deficit to 103-101 with a dunk with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving made a brace of free throws to seal the win.

Toronto shot 58.1 percent through the first three quarters and led by as many as 10 in the fourth.

But the Cavaliers — fresh from impressing Britain’s Prince William and wife, Kate, with a win in Brooklyn on Monday, held the Raptors to a 30 percent shooting rate in the final period.

“In the fourth quarter we really amped up our defensive intensity,” Cleveland head coach David Blatt said. “That was a tough, hard victory.”

James finished with 35 points, Love added 17 with nine rebounds and Irving contributed 13 points and 10 assists.

It was Cleveland’s second victory over the Raptors in five days. They beat them in Toronto on Friday 105-91.

The Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak is their longest since they won eight on the trot in March of 2010. Their last defeat was a 110-93 setback against the Raptors on November 22.

The Raptors have now lost four of their last seven since starting the season 13-2. AFP

 

 

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