The Cleveland Cavaliers almost extended their winning streak to eight games, which would have been their longest winning streak since Lebron James was still on the Cavaliers. However, the Toronto Raptors had other plans on their home floor tonight. The Raptors used a huge third quarter to overcome a five-point deficit at the half in order to take the lead and beat a defensive-minded Cleveland team 98-91.
Usually, DeMar DeRozan carries the team on his back in order to get the win, but every once in a while, Terrence Ross likes to make an appearance at the top. About a month ago, he recorded a shocking 51 points in a losing effort against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tonight, he got nowhere close to that mark, as he finished with 20 points, but the difference was he propelled his team to victory this time around.
On a night where DeRozan struggled shooting the basketball, the high-flying phenom known for his dunking abilities took control. The All-Star managed to only record 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting from the field against a pesky Cavaliers defense and needed some help from his teammates if the Raptors wanted to win this game. Ross answered the call for his teammate by going 9-of-18 from the field in great effort for Toronto to help maintain the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Ross wasn’t the only one to step up tonight either. Jonas Valaciunas gave one of his best performances of the season as well. He finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in a dominating effort against the big men of Cleveland. Rookie Tyler Zeller had a hard time containing Valaciunas in the post. Whatever shot the Raptors center wanted to get off, Zeller couldn’t stop him from doing it, as he went an impressive 8-for-12 from the field to help guide his team to a win over the Cavaliers in front of the home crowd.
However, the best effort of the night may have been the Raptors’ performance on defense. Kyrie Irving, like DeRozan, struggled to score against Kyle Lowry. He finished with 17 points, but those 17 points didn’t come easy. In order to even get to his point total, Irving had to force the issue and get to the free throw line, because his shot was not falling. He managed to only go 3-for-16 from the field and prevented the Cavaliers from getting their eighth win in a row.
The Raptors deserve some credit though, as they played Cleveland’s own game and came out victorious. Their defense held Cleveland to a mere 30 percent shooting, which is just plain awful.