TORONTO: Kevin Love scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and LeBron James climbed higher on the career scoring list, but the Cavaliers fell to the Toronto Raptors 103-99 Wednesday night.
It was the Cavs’ fourth loss of the season – all on the road. Unlike the first three, however, this one was decided before the final minute.
Kyle Lowry scored 27 points for the Raptors, including 20 in the second half and offensively-challenged Bismack Biyombo had two big baskets in the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer from Lowry gave the Raptors a 91-84 lead with 5:38 left, their largest since early in the second quarter.
James had 24 points, eight assists and six rebounds. He passed Reggie Miller in the second quarter for 18th place on the all-time scoring list. He now has 25,298 career points. Alex English (25,613) is next on the list. James and Love, in a strange quirk, were the only Cavs players to shoot free throws on Wednesday.
Jared Cunningham started at point guard because Matthew Dellavedova was out nursing a tight calf and Mo Williams is easing his way back from swelling in his ankle. Williams scored 15 points off the bench, including a 46-foot heave to beat the buzzer entering the fourth quarter to pull the Cavs within 82-80. But the Raptors pulled away in the fourth.
Cunningham struggled most of the night against the former All-Star Lowry. Cunningham finished the night just 2 of 10 and frustrations bubbled over late in the third when Lowry and Cunningham began jawing under the basket after Cunningham missed a couple of layups. Lowry, a known trash talker, gave Cunningham a little elbow and Cunningham responded with a one-armed shove.
The Raptors scored the first 10 points of the second quarter, but the Cavs J.R. Smith, LeBron James and Tristan Thompson returned to the game at the same time and the Cavs responded by scoring 19 of the game’s next 21 to take the lead. The lead for both sides didn’t swell into double figures until Patrick Patterson’s 3-pointer with two minutes left.
Smith scored 15 points and Thompson grabbed 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who fall to 11-4 and will travel to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and Luis Scola scored 15 for the Raptors – all in the first quarter. Biyombo ended with 11 points and 12 rebounds replacing center Jonas Valanciunas, who is out with a fractured hand.