TORONTO: The Raptors scored 37 points in the third quarter and the Cavaliers’ short-handed perimeter players struggled through lousy shooting nights in a 98-91 loss to the Toronto Raptors on Friday, ending the Cavs’ six-game winning streak.
Kyrie Irving had 17 points and nine assists and Spencer Hawes had seven points and 10 rebounds in his Cavaliers debut, but Irving, Jarrett Jack, Luol Deng and Matthew Dellavedova combined to shoot 14-for-47 on a night the Cavs were without Anderson Varejao (back), Dion Waiters (knee) and C.J. Miles (ankle). All of the personnel losses forced Jack and Irving to play more than 40 minutes.
The Cavs led 44-39 at the half, but the Raptors shot 48 percent and Jonas Valanciunas hurt the Cavs inside in the decisive third quarter. The Raptors carried an 11-point lead into the fourth, extended it to 15 and were never really threatened. The Cavs pulled within 93-87 in the final minute, but a driving lay-up from John Salmons squelched any chance at a last-minute rally.
Deng had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Tristan Thompson had 13 points and nine rebounds and Toronto native Anthony Bennett had nine points in his first game back in Canada since going No. 1 overall in last year’s draft.
Valanciunas had 18 points and eight rebounds and Terrence Ross had 20 points for the first-place Raptors.
The six-game winning streak was the Cavs’ longest in nearly four years and they entered Friday as the hottest team in the NBA. Not anymore. They’ll host the Washington Wizards at Quicken Loans Arena on Sunday.