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Cleveland Cavaliers

Final thoughts: Cavs 99, Raptors 98

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 26, 2013
Kyrie & Tristan celebrate
Kyrie Irving celebrates with Tristan Thompson after hitting a 3-pointer against the Toronto Raptors with 0.7 seconds left Saturday in Toronto. Irving scored 32 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers won 99-98. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

 

TORONTO: Final thoughts from a stunning win and a rare three-game winning streak...

* C.J. Miles packed up his belongings in the Cavs' locker room tonight singing an old, familiar tune with new lyrics: "Sometimes I dream, that he is me ... like Ky, I like to be like Ky."

* Miles' song, of course, is in reference to the old hit Gatorade tune about Michael Jordan. The fact Kyrie Irving has now managed to hit five game winners before he can celebrate any of them with a beer is rather staggering. "The last few minutes he had a couple of turnovers, and you'd think that might rattle him a litte bit," Miles said. "That stuff happens, but it doesn't matter. You've got a chance to win that game, you win that game."

* The Cavs had no business winning this game. Their defense was atrocious until the fourth quarter, they trailed most of the night and Irving was struggling a bit with his shot. He made just 9 of 21 shots entering the fourth, then everything changed.

* Irving scored 12 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, when he made 4 of 5 shots in eight minutes. He was beaten badly on the previous possession, when Jose Calderon sprinted past him for a layup to put the Raptors ahead 98-96, but none of that mattered. 

* Coming out of the timeout, Irving asked Byron Scott what he should do. Scott told him if it were him, he'd dribble the clock down and go for the win. So he did. 

* Anyone else who has a problem with Irving making the All-Star team because of the Cavs' record need only watch the film from the last three games. After Scott told him to get more aggressive, Irving has responded with games of 40, 35 and 32 points. If he's not the Eastern Conference player of the week this week, the voting is rigged.

* Lost in the hubris of another dazzling fourth quarter from Irving was another really good night from the newcomers. Mo Speights had 17 points and Wayne Ellington had 12, including a pair of big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. I wasn't at Friday's game, but I like what I see so far from Speights. He's got some athleticism for such a big and he'll get big minutes here. 

* C.J. Miles said he was fine and recovered from the virus, but did not play. His theory is he needs to practice first, but Scott made it sound in pregame like Miles would be available. Either way, the Cavs are off Sunday and practice Monday, so Miles should be ready to go Tuesday against the Warriors.

* Daniel Gibson left in the first half with a sprained toe. No word on the severity or if he'll miss more time.

* Luke Walton woke up with severe pain in his left foot and ankle and did not play. He said he was diagnosed with plantars fasciitis, which can be incredibly painful. Will be interesting to see if they can get the pain under control and get him back on the court. Walton said he's willing to do anything to get back out there, considering he's finally getting consistent minutes and he's playing fairly well. 

* I said it after the Boston game (perhaps a little prematurely), and I still believe it: This team is starting to figure some things out. They've won three straight for the first time since March 7-11. Their last four-game winning streak? March 8-24, 2010 when they won eight straight in LeBron James' final season. Wow.

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