CLEVELAND — Guard Dion Waiters scored a game-high 24 points and handed out seven assists in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 102-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup five games ago after an injury to Kyrie Irving, Waiters is averaging 23.8 and 6.4 assists. He recorded his fourth consecutive games with 20 or more points.
The Cavaliers (28-44) earned their second win in a row.
Guard Kyle Lowry posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who came into the game the third place in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto forward Terrence Ross and guard Greivis Vasquez each added 16 points.
Cleveland, leading by two, turned the ball over on an ill-fated inbounds play with 7.8 seconds left. Center Anderson Varejao lobbed the ball out of bounds while trying to connect with forward Luol Deng.
The Raptors (39-31) returned the favor when Vasquez turned his ankle and fell down as the final buzzer sounded, ending Toronto’s comeback bid. Cleveland led by 21 points in the third quarter, but Toronto used a staggering 18-5 run to get back in the game.
Deng proved his importance to the Cavaliers with 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists. It was his second game back after he missed three games due to a sprained left ankle.
Power forward Tristan Thompson helped the Cavaliers dominate the boards, finishing with 15 points and game-high 13 rebounds. For the game, the Cavaliers outrebounded Toronto 49-38.
The Raptors made up for that deficit with a torrid shooting display from behind the arc, converting 14 of 32 3-point attempts.
The Cavaliers shot 51.4 percent from the field in the game, compared to the Raptors’ 39.8 percent.
The Raptors began to rally after halftime, but the Cavaliers hung on for an 88-81 lead at the end of the third quarter, as Deng buried a late 3-pointer.
Toronto drained 12 of 24 3-point shots through three quarters.
After leading 26-17 after one quarter, the Cavaliers didn’t let up in the second, as they amassed 33 points on the defensive-minded Raptors. Cleveland opened a 59-45 lead at halftime.
NOTES: 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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