The Cleveland Cavaliers held on to claim a tight 94-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors at the Air Canada Centre on Friday night.
Kyrie Irving hit a three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining to put the Cavaliers up three. The Raptors would have two more opportunities to tie it, but were unable to convert and the Cavs handed the Raptors their first loss of the season as they held on for a hard-fought victory.
After taking care of the ball in the season opening victory against Detroit, the Raptors got sloppy against the Cavaliers early. Toronto had just 11 turnovers in the first game of the season and they topped that in the first half against Cleveland with 12 miscues at the break. The Raptors took better care of the ball in the second half, but still finished the game with 18 turnovers to 12 assists.
DeMar DeRozan set a franchise record for most points scored in a season opener when he scored 40 points against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. With a 32-point night against the Cavaliers, DeRozan has scored 72 points in the first two games of the season, breaking Vince Carter’s record for most points scored through two games. Carter’s record (65 points) was set in the 2003/04 season.
DeRozan was happy with his performance but felt the team committed too turnovers 18 in total, “We’re still trying to find our exact rhythm. We’re trying to catch a rhythm, especially playing with the young guys and understanding where we all need to be and how we need to run it, understanding we’ve all got to work to get open to help the passer out. Little things like that, we’ve just got to continue to get better at it and catch our rhythm on the offensive end.”
Irving finished with 26 points, six rebounds, six assists. While LeBron James had 21 points, eight rebounds, seven assists. Kevin Love also got involved with 18 points, 10 rebounds.
Cameroonian Pascal Siakam received his second start in place of the injured Jared Sullinger. He played 15 minutes and scored four points to go with three rebounds.
DeRozan led all scorers with 32 points in 38 minutes of action. He scored 16 points in the third quarter to help trim a 10-point halftime deficit to five going into the fourth. He shot 12-for-28 from the floor, 8-for-8 from the free throw line, and added seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Raptors coach Dwane Casey did find some positives despite the loss with the defensive effort a team highlight, “I thought our defence was solid. Any time you hold this team to 41 per cent, that’s good enough. Now, we clean up our turnovers, make the shots we take, it’s as simple as that because we got some great looks and we have to keep our defensive aggression the way it was.”
By Holly MacKenzie for Raptors.com
First appeared on NBA.com Global