CLEVELAND: Dion Waiters had 24 points and seven assists and the Cavaliers squandered a 21-point lead before surviving to beat the Toronto Raptors 102-100 on Tuesday.
The Cavs failed twice to get the ball inbounded in the game’s final seconds, giving the Raptors a shot to tie it or win it at the buzzer. But Greivis Vasquez drove into the lane and threw wildly behind him for a turnover.
Luol Deng had 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 13 rebounds and the Cavs won their second straight over a team in the playoff hunt.
The Cavs enjoyed a 74-53 lead early in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Vasquez gave the Raptors a 95-94 lead with 6:45 left. But the Cavs held them without a field goal for more than six minutes to escape with the victory.
The Raptors trailed 102-99 with 12 seconds left when DeMar DeRozan beat Alonzo Gee off the dribble and tried attacking for the quick basket. Gee fouled him and DeRozan split the free throws, giving the Cavs possession with a two-point lead and 7.8 seconds left.
Deng failed to get the ball inbounded and was forced to call a timeout. The Cavs tried again with Anderson Varejao as the trigger, but Varejao threw the ball out of Deng’s reach and out of bounds, giving the final possession to the Raptors.
The Cavs were terrific offensively in the first half, shooting 58 percent and scoring 59 points. But the offense regressed throughout the second half. They scored just four baskets and had one assist in the fourth quarter, but did enough to escape with the victory over a team that began the night as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.