"It was a bad feeling," Varejao said.
That quickly turned to elation when Toronto Raptors guard Greivis
Vasquez returned the favor by turning it over with 1.9 seconds left.
It preserved the Cavaliers' 102-100 victory over the Raptors on
Tuesday before 15,497 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Vasquez appeared to slip and fell down as time ran out. The ball
flew up in the air and into forward Luol Deng's hands, which ended
the Raptors' comeback.
Varejao was taking the ball out-of-bounds near the Raptors bench.
The pass was intended for Deng, but it sailed out-of-bounds.
"Lu said (Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan) grabbed him (around the
waist)," Varejao said. "I didn't want to throw a soft pass. There
was nobody behind him."
Vasquez didn't shy away from the blame.
"I'll take responsibility and not run away," he said. "I'm a man.
Wish I could be in that position again."
The Cavaliers (28-44) prevailed over the Raptors for the first time
in three tries this season.
"We found a way to stay competitive," Cavaliers coach Mike Brown
said. "That's a playoff team. We already lost two games to them this
year. For us to stay competitive and get a win, it was big for us."
Raptors coach Dwane Casey cautioned before the game that even though
the Cavaliers have not been rewarded with a lot of wins as of late,
they have been playing winning basketball.
Toronto (39-31), the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, had
trouble keeping pace with Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters for much of
He fired in a game-high 24 points and dished out seven assists.
Since he was inserted into the starting lineup five games ago, he
averaged 23.8 points and 6.4 assists. He recorded four consecutive
games of 20 or more points.
"Dion Waiters is playing at a high level," Casey said.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, who
have won two in a row.
They snapped a string of five consecutive losses at Quicken Loans
Power forward Tristan Thompson helped the Cavaliers dominate the
boards with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Cavaliers
outrebounded Toronto, 49-38.
"Tristan's energy was great for us," Brown said. "That's the Tristan
we were used to seeing."
The Atlantic Division-leading Raptors used a staggering 18-5 run in
the third quarter to trim a 21-point deficit. They cut the
Cavaliers' lead to 88-81 after three quarters, and that was only
after a late 3-pointer by Deng.
Deng, in just his second game back for the Cavaliers, finished with
19 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
"They've got a lot of talented players that are back healthy now,"
Casey said. "(Anderson) Varejao is back. He's always been a thorn in
[to top of second column]
Torrid 3-point shooting by the Raptors brought them back in the
contest. For the game, they made 14 of 32 shots from behind the arc.
Guard Kyle Lowry recorded a double-double with 22 points and 10
assists for the Raptors.
Sharpshooting forward Ross and Vasquez each added 16 points for
The Cavaliers shot 51.4 percent from the field against the
defensive-minded Raptors. But Brown was most impressed with his
team's defensive effort.
"They missed some shots, but part of it we had something to do
with," Brown said. "They shot 39.8 percent from the floor for the
game. That's attributed to our competitive spirit throughout the
course of the game."
Casey bemoaned about bad luck on the last play.
"If it wasn't for bad luck, we couldn't have any luck on that one,"
he said. "You go back to one play and that's not (how) the game was
decided. The game was decided the way we approached it in the first
The Cavaliers amassed an amazing 20 rebounds in the first quarter,
as they led, 26-17.
"We knew they were going to make a run," Waiters said. "We didn't
get rattled. We made plays when we had to."
NOTES: Mike Brown now has 300 career victories as head coach of the
Cavaliers. He joins Bill Fitch (304) and Lenny Wilkens (316) as the
only coaches with at least 300 wins. ... Cavaliers F Luol Deng was
just starting to hit his stride — he averaged 19 points on a recent
three-game West Coast trip — before he sprained his left ankle,
causing him to miss three games. He said he had no problems in his
first game back, Sunday in New York, when he had 13 points and five
rebounds in 33 minutes against the Knicks. "Everything is fine," he
said. ... There are no updates on injured Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving
(strained tendon left biceps), F Anthony Bennett (strained patellar
tendon) and G/F C.J. Miles (sprained left ankle). ... The Raptors
entered the game ranked sixth overall in points allowed. "It's an
ongoing process," coach Dwane Casey said. "You have preach about it
every day. I would argue that an up-tempo team would never win a
championship. To win in the East, you have to be a defensive-first
team. Have we arrived? No."
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